Chita Rivera
(Photo © Joseph Marzullo)
Chita Rivera
(Photo © Joseph Marzullo)
Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life has booked the Schoenfeld Theatre for its Broadway run; the show will begin performances there on November 23 in advance of a December 11 opening. Prior to its Broadway engagement, it will play San Diego's Old Globe Theater from September 10 through October 23. The production will feature direction and choreography by Graciela Daniele, a book by Terrence McNally, and new songs by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty.

"Chita Rivera is our strongest link to the Golden Age of the American Musical," stated McNally. "She worked with all the great choreographers and composers and was present at the creation of such seminal masterpieces as The Dance at the Gym from West Side Story, when the talent in the room was a veritable Mount Rushmore of the American theatre: Bernstein, Sondheim, Robbins, Laurents, and Prince. I hope our show reminds audiences of what that level of theater was like and what it still can be if the talent, the technique, and the passion are there."

The Dancer's Life takes a look at the creation of some of the greatest musicals in theater history -- all of which featured Rivera -- including West Side Story and Chicago. Joining the star on stage for this examination of her five-decade-long career will be Liana Ortiz as Young Chita and a 10-member ensemble: Richard Amaro, Cleve Asbury, Lloyd Culbreath, Jasmine Perri, Madeleine Kelly, Malinda Farrington, Edgard Gallardo, Deidre Goodwin, Richard Montoya, Lainie Sakakura, Alex Sanchez, and Alllyson Tucker. The show's design team includes Loy Arcenas (sets), Toni Leslie James (costumes), Jules Fisher & Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting), and Scott Lehrer (sound). Mark Hummell is the production's musical director.

Rivera has won two Tony Awards (for Kiss of the Spider Woman and The Rink) and received six additional nominations. In 2002, she was bestowed with the coveted Kennedy Center Honor.