On November 7, two New York fixtures will finally come together when two-time Tony Award winner Chita Rivera makes her long-overdue Carnegie Hall solo debut with Chita: Nowadays.
“I never expected this, I’m absolutely shocked,” Rivera says. “I do feel as though I came to New York, and it’s been so wonderful to me, and my life and my career. I owe so much to New York City, and to be asked to come into that hall, the hall. …”
It may come as a surprise that with two Tony Awards (not to mention a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama) under her belt, the 83-year-old Broadway legend still hasn’t crossed Carnegie Hall off her list.
Still, Rivera says, it’s a homecoming. “I studied in that building,” she recalls. “There was a jazz teacher that I used to study with there, and Marlon Brando played the conga for a couple of classes. It was quite a trip for us all.”
Directed by Graciela Daniele, Rivera is set to recreate stand-out moments from her Broadway career that spans more than 60 years during her Monday-night Carnegie Hall concert.
“There will be some new twists to a lot of wonderful material that I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do,” Rivera adds. “I’ve got such great material thanks to Fred [Ebb] and John [Kander], and Leonard Bernstein, and all of the greats. It’s really thrilling, and my group of people that are going to be with me, it’s really gonna be a lot of fun. We’re going to have ourselves a blast.”
Producer Daniel Nardicio has lined up a list of special guests who will help Rivera put a new twist on classics ranging from West Side Story to The Visit (and much, much more). Among the stars set to join her are Alan Cumming, Andy Karl, Stevie Van Zandt, Javier Muñoz, James Harms, Chris Newcomer, and members of New York City Gay Men’s Chorus.
“There will be some new twists to a lot of wonderful material that I’ve been lucky enough to be able to do,” Rivera teases.
Even with a Presidential Medal of Freedom—in addition to being the first Latino American to receive a Kennedy Center Honor—Rivera says she doesn’t consider herself a pioneering artist. “It sounds good, but I really don’t think that about myself,” she laughed.
And don’t even begin to think that Carnegie Hall is Rivera’s victory lap. She’s still a Broadway gypsy at heart and says, “Hell, yes!” to doing another eight-show-a-week run.
We asked Rivera to take us through six highlights from her stage career, with a word or phrase that captures the experience. Flip through the gallery below to see Rivera’s responses.
Chita Rivera Looks Back at 6 Broadway Roles She’ll Never Forget
For tickets, visit ChitaInConcert.com.
Beyond Carnegie Hall, Rivera is set to play several intimate engagements this month, including the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT, on November 20. Additional dates include The Tilles Center in Old Brookville, NY (November 18); and On Stage at Kingsborough in Brooklyn (November 19).