Chita Rivera's book will introduce fans to the real her

Over the past seven decades, Broadway star Chita Rivera has taken on and defined some of the most iconic roles in American musical theat...


Over the past seven decades, Broadway star Chita Rivera has taken on and defined some of the most iconic roles in American musical theatre: Anita in ‘West Side Story’, Rose in ‘Bye Bye Birdie’, Velma Kelly in ‘Chicago’ .

In her forthcoming memoir, Rivera introduces her fans and readers to a character she has rarely played in public: her alter ego of sorts, Dolores. And Dolores, which is Rivera’s first name, can be a bit spicy, according to Rivera’s co-writer, journalist Patrick Pacheco.

When they first sat down to discuss the memoir in the summer of 2020, Pacheco asked Rivera what people didn’t know about her.

“She said, ‘Well, I’m not as nice as people think,'” he recalled. “I said, ‘Great, let’s introduce her to the public. “”

In her as-yet-untitled book, due out in 2023 from HarperOne and released simultaneously in English and Spanish, Rivera outlines her unlikely path to stardom. Born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero in 1933, Rivera grew up in Washington, DC, where her mother worked as a government clerk and her father was a clarinetist and saxophonist for the US Navy Band.

She was so exuberant and theatrical at home that her mother enrolled her in ballet school. She got a scholarship for George Balanchineit is American Ballet School and then landed roles in musicals like ‘Call Me Madam’, ‘Guys and Dolls’, ‘Can-Can’ and ‘West Side Story’, where she delivered a breakout performance as Anita in the original production of the musical. Over the decades, she has been nominated for 10 Tony Awards and won twice, and received a Tony Award for lifetime achievement. In 2009, President Barack Obama presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Early in her career, Puerto Rican-born Rivera worked to challenge the stereotypes imposed on her in a largely white creative industry.

“She was always very empowered early on to play whatever she felt she could play,” Pacheco said.

Some of the theater world’s most influential composers and choreographers were drawn to Rivera’s magnetism and perfectionism. In her memoir, she describes her work with Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, Bob Fosse, Hal Prince and Fred Ebb, and her experiences with stars and actors like Elaine Stritch, Dick Van Dyke, Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis Jr. .

Rivera, who turned 89 this month, has done career retrospectives before, including “The Dancer’s Life», a musical celebrating his career. But while her friends and colleagues had pushed her over the years to write memoirs, she never felt pressured to do so until recently.

“I’ve never been one to look back,” Rivera said in a statement released by her publisher. “I hope my words and thoughts about my life and career will resonate and readers may discover things about me that they never knew.”

Although she had a lasting influence on the theater as a performer, Rivera is not a writer and Pacheco was a natural collaborator – he first met her in the 1970s and had already interviewed at length in 2005 when he was hired as a researcher for ” Une vie de danseur.

He and Rivera met or talked on the phone once or twice a week while they worked on the book, and he urged Rivera to talk about his private life and be candid about his not-so-nice side, Pacheco said. . “Let’s put them in the bedroom with Chita,” he recalled telling her, “but let’s also put them in the bedroom with Dolores.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Chita Rivera's book will introduce fans to the real her
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