Caught in the Act

My Broadway: Chita Rivera

By Jared Bowen

May 3, 2012

Watch Jared's interview with Chita Rivera tonight on Greater Boston, 7 p.m. on WGBH 2.


Chita Rivera and Dick Van Dyke in Bye Bye Birdie.

BOSTON — Simply put, Chita Rivera is one of the greats, and tomorrow night there’s a rare opportunity to experience her incredible talent. The legendary actress, singer and dancer presents a benefit performance of her show My Broadway at the Citi Shubert Theatre.



Chita Rivera & Liza Minnelli in The Rink. (Photo: Ken Howard)

Rivera could hardly be more celebrated—she’s won two Tonys, a Kennedy Center Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And on May 4 at the Shubert—the role is her own. The show is My Broadway, the Broadway Rivera helped build. Hers are many of the most iconic roles, moments and songs in all of musical theater. What becomes a legend most? That’s easy—simply watch Chita Rivera.


Chita Rivera in Kiss of the Spider Woman. (Photo: Catherine Ashmore)

A dancer turned actress, Rivera has defined many of Broadway’s greatest characters in its most celebrated shows, such as Anita in West Side Story. She starred with Dick Van Dyke in the original Bye Bye Birdie, created Velma Kelly in Chicago and the divinely lethal Aurora in Kiss of the Spider Woman.

As a benefit for Boston Youth Moves, Rivera will perform selections from her most celebrated musicals, including numbers from West Side Story (“America”), Sweet Charity (“Where Am I Going?” and “Big Spender”), Chicago (“All That Jazz” and “Nowadays”), Kiss of the Spider Woman, Bye Bye Birdie and The Rink, and featuring the music of Leonard Bernstein, John Kander & Fred Ebb, Charles Strouse, Stephen Sondheim and Cy Coleman, among others.

Now in its 12th year, Swellegance is an evening of smart cocktails, swell people and sophisticated entertainment that has rapidly become one of the major events in the city. It benefits Boston Youth Moves (BYM), a nonprofit, after-school arts education program encouraging young people to explore their limitless potential for artistic expression and realize personal success. Begun in 1990 by Jim Viera and Jeannette Neill, BYM offers superlative dance training to teens in the Boston and greater Boston area and provides subsidized tuition for its students and offers scholarships and financial aid to students in need.

From our New York colleagues at WNYC: Chita Rivera (the original Anita in West Side Story) shares her impressions of the show and its composer, Leonard Bernstein. A video by Jonathan Estabrooks for WNYC.


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About the Author
Jared Bowen Jared Bowen
Jared Bowen is WGBH’s Emmy Award-winning Executive Editor and Host for Arts. 


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