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RECAP: Chita Rivera Told Her WEST SIDE STORY Audition Story on STARS IN THE HOUSE

RECAP: Chita Rivera Told Her WEST SIDE STORY Audition Story on STARS IN THE HOUSE

Stars in The House, benefiting The Actors Fund, continued Saturday night (8pm) for An Evening with Chita Rivera and Friends.

Chita began the show talking about her audition process for WEST SIDE STORY, "Dee Dee Ryan...said there's a show and you really should go and audition for it and I did. It was a series of auditions. First, it was Jerry [Jerome Robbins] and I had already been acquainted with Jerry Robbins. I'm not sure I went through the first one but I sure had to go through my Bernardo and the rest of the leads. It was a bar downstairs where Larry Kert, Carol Lawrence and I met and we screamed 'we got it, we got it!' and then Larry said 'I'll probably go out and step on 6th avenue and get hit by a car because this is the opportunity of my life.' We were only going by the feeling that we had...with the material. That's what excited us. It wasn't the fact that we thought it was gonna be some unbelievable hit because nobody really knows that and at the time we didn't even pretend, we just wanted to work."

Chita then talked about the rehearsal process and keeping the Jets and the Sharks separate. "I was in another room altogether with Peter Gennaro and the Sharks and Jerry Robbin was in another room, a larger room and better, with the Jets. We never saw each other. We passed each other in the hall but Jerry said 'you're not allowed to be friends with any of them. You can't spend any time, you can't have lunch with them...' I remember Kenny LeRoy who played Bernardo walked into rehearsal and all the boys had felt shark little things for their boots just to stick them in that Carol had made and passed them out to make us look like a group and we were all together and he walked in and he saw them and said 'where'd you get those?' and somebody told him, he walked into our room, scared the hell out of both of us and said 'don't you ever do anything around here without asking me. I'm the leader, I'm the head of the gang.' And I went 'oh this is for real.' And that's the way we learned...We had no time to go and study so this was our learning battleground."

Later, Chita's former husband, Tony Mordente, and daughter, Lisa Mordente joined and talked about the original WEST SIDE STORY film, and were then joined by Harvey Evans.

Click HERE to watch the full episode.

Stars in The House continues this afternoon (2pm) with the debut Plays In The House Jr! Readings of plays for young people performed by young people! Plays In The House Jr: I AND YOU: By Lauren Gunderson. Starring Andrew Barth Feldman (Dear Evan Hansen) and Samantha Williams (Caroline, or Change). Q&A with the playwright after!

Current and past episodes can be found on the website, as well as a donate button linking viewers to The Actors Fund.

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