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Join us at the Drama Book Shop for an in-person conversation Chita Rivera and Patrick Pacheco about the new book CHITA: A MEMOIR.

Broadway legend and national treasure Chita Rivera –multi- Tony Award winner, Kennedy Center honoree, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom – has taken no prisoners on stage or screen for seven decades. From her trailblazing performance as the original Anita in West Side Story—for which she tapped her own Puerto Rican roots—to her haunting 2015 star turn in The Visit. Chita has proven to be much more than just a captivating dancer, singer, and actress beloved by audiences and casts alike. In her equally captivating and one-of-a-kind memoir, CHITA: A MEMOIR written with Patrick Pacheco, the woman born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero shares an incomparable life, both on stage and behind the curtain.

Chita’s love of performing began as a child in Washington, D.C., when her mother enrolled her in a local ballet school to channel her boundless energy. Still a teenager, she moved to New York to attend the School of American Ballet after an audition for George Balanchine himself and winning a scholarship. But Broadway beckoned, and by twenty she was appearing in the choruses of Golden Age shows like Guys and Dolls and Can-Can. In the latter, she received special encouragement from its star Gwen Verdon, forging a personal and professional friendship that would help shape her career. The groundbreaking West Side Story brought her into the orbit of Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Hal Prince, and Stephen Sondheim. After Bye Bye Birdie further burnished her rising star, she reunited with Verdon and her then-husband Bob Fosse to work on the film version of Sweet Charity and the celebrated original Broadway production of Chicago.

As Chita takes fans behind-the-scenes of all her shows and cabaret acts, she shares candid stories of her many colleagues, friends, and lovers. She speaks with empathy and hindsight of her deep associations with complicated geniuses like Fosse and Robbins, as well as with the mega-talent Liza Minnelli, with whom she co-starred in The Rink. She openly discusses her affair with Sammy Davis, Jr. as well as her marriage to Tony Mordente and her subsequent off-the-radar relationships. Chita revisits the terrible car accident that threatened to end her career as a dancer forever. Center stage to Chita’s story are John Kander and Fred Ebb, the songwriters and dear friends indelibly tied to her career through some of her most enduring work: Chicago, The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and The Visit.

As Chita Rivera looks at her extraordinary career, she brings another voice to the events—that of Dolores, the tough-minded alter ego who still lives and survives within Chita. Dolores’s down- to-earth forthrightness and touch of irreverence shines through in all of her performances, revealing the hard work, determination, and luck that has gone into a lasting show business career. CHITA: A MEMOIR is a perfect embodiment of the woman herself: fun-loving, sensuous, ferocious, compassionate, and filled with vitality.

A theatrical icon and one of Broadway’s greatest triple-threat talents, Chita Rivera is one of the most nominated performers in Tony Award history having earned 10 nominations, won twice and received the 2018 Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre. Her most recent Broadway starring roles include The Visit, the revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood; The Dancer’s Life, and the revival of Nine. She trained as a ballerina (from age nine) before receiving a scholarship to the School of American Ballet from the legendary choreographer George Balanchine. Her electric performance as Anita in the original Broadway premiere of West Side Story brought her international stardom. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony Award), Chicago, Jerry’s Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award), and the original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven, Mr. Wonderful. Chita was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom and the coveted Kennedy Center Honor; performed her solo concert at London’s Cadogan Hall and Carnegie Hall. Her most treasured production is her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer Lisa Mordente.

Patrick Pacheco is an Emmy-winning TV commentator and arts journalist whose work has appeared in The NY Times, The LA Times, The Wall Street Journal, Esquire.com, and other periodicals. He wrote the 2009 Disney documentary Waking Sleeping Beauty and his plays include My Life with Men…and Other Animals, co-written with Maria Cassi, and the new musical, Christmas in Connecticut, with Erik Jackson. He is the author and editor of American Theatre Wing, An Oral History as well as the co-writer of Designing Hollywood Homes: Movie Houses. His research was the basis of Terrence McNally’s libretto for Chita, The Dancer’s Life.

 

 

 

Tickets will go on sale April 1st 

  • Ticket purchase includes entrance to the event and a pre-signed copy of CHITA: A MEMOIR.
  • It is recommended that guests wear a mask inside. 
  • No merchandise, photos or other souvenirs will be allowed to be signed.