Chita Rivera(Photo © Michael Portantiere)
Chita Rivera
(Photo © Michael Portantiere)
New Dramatists will present Chita Rivera with their 2006 Career Achievement Award at the organization's 57th annual spring luncheon, to be held at 11:15 am on Thursday, May 18 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

Rivera began training as a ballerina at age 11 and won a scholarship from George Balanchine. Over the next several years, her career path changed from ballet to musical theater. She starred on Broadway in such shows as West Side Story, Bye Birdie, Chicago, The Rink, and Kiss of the Spider Woman, winning Tony and Drama Desk awards for her appearances in the last two named musicals. She most recently appeared on Broadway in Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life.

Her many touring and regional theater credits include Call Me Madam, Sweet Charity, Can-Can, and Anything Goes. She also recreated two of her greatest New York performances in the London productions of West Side Story and Bye Bye Birdie.

New Dramatists is a play development program founded in 1949 by Michael O¹Harra in association with Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Moss Hart, Howard Lindsay, and Russel Crouse. It has fostered the work of such major playwrights as Paula Vogel, William Inge, Paddy Chayefsky, John Guare, John Patrick Shanley, Nilo Cruz, and Doug Wright . Among those previously honored by New Dramatists for their artistic contributions to the American theatre are Julie Andrews, Barbara Cook, Jerry Herman, Angela Lansbury, Neil Simon, Stephen Sondheim, Meryl Streep, Gwen Verdon, August Wilson, and George C. Wolfe.

The event will include a champagne reception, followed by lunch and the award presentation. All tickets are priced at $250. To purchase tickets, call 212-757-6960 x13.