Friday, December 29, 2006

SOB's 6 Singular Sensations Of '06 - #3: Chita Rivera

SOB's 6 Singular Sensations Of '06 - #3: Chita Rivera

Introduction: Throughout the course of 2006, I've had many incredible opportunities to see some of the best actors, singers and dancers of our time perform live on the stage. Rather than recap the best shows of the year (which I'll do at the close of the 2006-07 Theatrical Season), I'm devoting the last six days of the calendar year to those live performances that have stayed with me throughout the year.

While Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life opened in late 2005, it wasn’t until January that I had an opportunity to take in this legendary actress’ latest Broadway performance -- this marked the third time I was to see Chita Rivera (the first two times came in the recent Great White Way revival of Nine ,where her number literally stopped the show, and in her Feinstein’s at the Regency cabaret act -- both were stunning).

My timing for seeing Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life could not have been better -- unless, of course, I had waited another week to see this Kennedy Center honoree perform with Bye Bye Birdie co-star Dick Van Dyke. By holding off until January, I was thrilled to have a chance to see Rivera perform an electrifying rendition of “America” from her celebrated turn in West Side Story; the number had only been added to the production one day earlier.

While the overall show itself was not completely up to the star around whom it was built, every ounce of Chita Rivera’s performance was as robust and dynamic as the chanteuse herself. Fortunately, Americans can now see this living legend as the touring production currently moves throughout the United States.

Here's toasting you, Chita Rivera, as you tour America as one of its greatest living theatrical treasures!

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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