BWW Interview: Triple Threat Icon Chita Rivera Talks Her Show at Valley Performing Arts Center and the Joys of Her Career
Triple threat Broadway legend Chita Rivera will bring her iconic class and showmanship to the Valley Performing Arts Center January 25 for one performance only at 8 pm. In our chat she tells us a little bit about the new show and talks in great detail about the joys of her career.
Can you give us a tease as to what you will be doing in your show Chita Rivera: A Legendary Celebration at the Valley Performing Arts Center on the 25th?
Numbers that I've done in my night club act...down memory lane. Very similar to the show that we did for Broadway Cares in New York on October 7 this past year, but I will not have Ben Vereen or Tommy Tune or my six boys with me.
You by yourself onstage will be a treat.
You have amazingly starred or co-starred in well over 30 great Broadway shows since the 1950s. I'll give you a show, not in any particular time sequence, and please respond, if you will, with your fondest memory/memories of the show or...the first thing that pops into your head about it...
Zorba the Greek (1969)
I had a great time with Zorba...we travelled a lot...I was almost run over by our star John Raitt; he had to dance with me, and he was a big man. It was wonderful, but he almost ran over me; had he run over me, we wouldn't be talking. My daughter was in it (Lisa Mordente); that was great; she could travel in the show with me. It was a great show to do.
Sweet Charity (1967)
The movie was great with Paula (Kelly) and Shirley (MacLaine). We had a blast. And when I did the National Company, I remember a basketball team saying they would hate to run into me in a dark alley at night. I think that was a compliment about how tough that show was to do for Charity, how much stamina you'd have to have.
The Rink (1984)
That was delicious. It was a little odd playing Liza's (Minnelli) mother, but, aside from that, we got a couple of laughs out of that. It was divine, because she's my buddy and it was just a fabulous experience to be with Freddy and John (Kander & Ebb), and Liza, and Scott Ellis and all these guys. It was a lot of fun.
West Side Story (1957)
Jerome Robbins. That's the thing that comes up. And I got married in that show, I had my baby in that show; a lot of memories of that show. I mean...Jerry said "The Sharks are not to even speak to the Jets." Well, I showed him. I went and married one. (Tony Mordente) West Side was a change of life practically.
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1992)
Well, that was rich and dark and sensuous and sad and violent...and Brent Carver was just totally amazing. It was a fabulous show; I thought it was a perfect show. It's a story that should be told about the differences in people. I considered it a love story. These two men who were so opposite would normally think they would not need each other; in actuality, they did. They formed a great bond. It was such a dramatic and exciting show.