"For generations, Chita Rivera has been a source of pride and inspiration for Puerto Ricans around the world," Madelyn Lugo, the Parade's president, said in a statement. "We are utterly proud to proclaim her the National Puerto Rican Day Parade's 2013 Grand Marshal, in recognition of her trailblazing accomplishments and artistic legacy."
Rivera, named Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero at birth, was born to a family of Puerto Rican descent in Washington DC. She has starred on Broadway in West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman, A Dancer's Life and Nine and was recently seen in The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
Rivera has won two Tony Awards for Best Leading Actress in a Musical and received seven additional Tony nominations. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama and was the first Hispanic to receive the Kennedy Center Honor, among other recognitions.
"I have many great memories of attending the Puerto Rican Day Parade with my heart swelling with pride and joy, just at being a member of its community," Rivera said in a statement. "Two things that distinguish the Parade from all the others are great music and the attempt to keep your body still, while you are surrounded by those pulsating rhythms. Not possible! I am so grateful for the honor of being The Grand Marshal. It makes me appreciative of my heritage and to be a part of this exciting day."
This year's parade theme is Salud —"Celebrate your Health," in acknowledgement of the parade's ongoing health awareness campaign while paying homage to the Puerto Rican community's contribution to health sciences and health administration nationwide. The parade will begin at 11 AM on 44th Street, making its way north along Fifth Avenue to 79th Street. The event will be broadcast live by Fox 5/MY9 in the Tri-State area, and in Puerto Rico through WIPR, San Juan's Channel 6 (Puerto Rico Network). A delayed telecast will be seen in Mexico, Dominican Republic and Colombia, among other countries.
A full calendar of events and more information about the parade can be found by calling (718) 401-0404 or visiting nationalpuertoricandayparade.org.