November 1957 marked the primary look of Chita Rivera on the quilt of Dance Journal. West Aspect Story had simply premiered, and the then-24-year-old Rivera’s star-making flip as Anita led Leo Lerman to declare in his report for that subject, “Here’s a performer of monumental individuality with a dance method fairly uniquely her personal. She has made the transition from refrain to star with seemingly no effort, shedding irritating mannerisms and changing them with the fantastically assured method of, with luck, a future nice girl of the American musical theatre.”
Lerman’s prediction proved appropriate: Rivera, now 89, has been nominated for 10 Tony Awards (profitable two, for The Rink in 1984 and Kiss of the Spider Lady in 1993), originated the function of Velma Kelly in Chicago, and obtained a Kennedy Heart Honor in 2002 (the primary Latino American to take action), the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009 and the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theatre in 2018.
“I positively got here alongside in a golden age,” she instructed us in February 2004. “[Jerome] Robbins, [Bob] Fosse, Gower Champion, Peter Gennaro, Michael Kidd, Jack Cole—all the greats. They usually had been all so completely different! It makes you a way more attention-grabbing individual to have all these types put in your physique…. I wouldn’t commerce being a dancer for something. It’s the rationale I’m nonetheless right here.”