Not so much a review as a reaction to Chita Rivera: A Dancer's Life

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Broadway Legend
Broadway Legend
Now I just very quickly have to say for those of you who don't know, I absolutely adore West Side Story...I've played the show twice and feel it's the best score ever, think Bernstein is a genius, and the show is the best to ever be put on broadway.

So when I found out about this show, my first thought was OMG I'll see a bit of WSS professionally done live, eeee! I mean, not jsut that, I also love Chicago and well Chita and the significance of her career but I've been so excited to see this since I first heard about it.

Well, I went last night, and the show did not disappoint. When the little girl made a shadow w/ her and she finally came out it was just an...amazing I can't believe I'm seeing Chita. I loved how she integrated her own story with her numbers. And though I appreciated those aspects, of course my favorite part were the other numbers.

As it is, WSS was her breakout role so that was the first major one she performed and the first song she sang was A Boy Like That...when she started I was just like...OMG, I'm seeing Chita Rivera sing "A Boy Like that" felt so surreal. And then to see her dance her Mambo solos like she never aged a bit. Just wow.

And then she ended the first act by saluting all of her marvelous co-stars. I think the way she ended it was wonderful, with one of her favorite co-stars, Gwen Verdon. She did the Nowadays dance, and had two spotlights on, one for her and one for Gwen. You could feel her presence there. This dance too was slightly surreal to see. And then when she took her bow at the end, she acknowledged Gwen to take her bow. I teared up, it truly was a wonderful moment.

The salute she did to choreographers was both well-done and informative. I didn't know about the first 2 she mentioned, or that someone else choreographed Dance at the Gym and america other than Robbins, and she's right, he never did receiver proper credit. But then the rest I knew right away, she explained how you know something is a Fosse with all his trademark moves, and then the dancers started doing all these crazy turns and I know instantly it was Robbins. You can tell what a love and appreciation she has for all these wonderful people who contributed so much to musical theatre.

Was also great to hear her sing "Class" and "Kiss of the Spiderwoman"--class is one of my favorite songs in Chicago and Kiss of the Spiderwoman, it felt just like it was 12 years ago and she's back up there...(of course I was 7 at the time so that felt different but still...)

And finally she ended w/ All That Jazz, again just a treasure to see...I have her rendition on my Ultimate Broadway CD and it just was one last surreal moment.

The whole show I was in total awe. I mean, I've seen so much theatre recently and I think it's all wonderful, but b/c I've seen so much, it's rare that something can just put me in total awe, to make me think this is different and better than almost anything i've seen...well this show was it.

And the audience was just wonderful! So much of the show consisted of not only references but jokes referring to tidbits you'd have to know about Broadway greats from the past and the audience got them all, even some I didn't know, and it was great to be a part of it. It was probably one of the most theatre knowledgable audiences I've ever had the pleasure of being part of.

finally, had to meet her at the stage door. She took a while b/c she had guests and apologized refusely. But she was an absolute doll when she finally came out, talked to everyone didn't rush. I happened to have my making of WSS book w/ me and there was a picture of her during the Mambo and she was like ohh what's this? saw it flipped through the book a bit, signed the picture and then said "ulgh, my leg was bent." God I love her. Took a picture w/ me and I told her how much I love WSS and umm...what was it like to work w/ Bernstein and for a minute or two we both just reflected on the genius of Bernstein, and she reiterated what a kind wonderful human being he was.

what a wonderful night...I definitely have to go back. I'm so glad this show was put together for theatre fanatics like me, who never truly got to experience the golden age of dance on Broadway.
"If there was a Mount Rushmore for Broadway scores, "West Side Story" would be front and center. It snaps, it crackles it pops! It surges with a roar, its energy and sheer life undiminished by the years" - NYPost reviewer Elisabeth Vincentelli