The musical celebration of the life and art of singer-actress-dancer Chita Rivera began previews Sept. 10 and opened Sept. 22 for a limited run originally slated through Oct. 23. Due to ticket demand the run was extended through Oct. 30; it has now been extended an additional week through Nov. 6. The musical will then head to Broadway's Schoenfeld Theatre to start previews Nov. 23 with an official opening scheduled for Dec. 11.
Boasting a book by Terrence McNally and direction by Graciela Daniele, The Dancer's Life stars Rivera with Liana Ortiz as Young Chita. The ensemble comprises Richard Amaro, Cleve Asbury, Lloyd Culbreath, Jasmine Perri, Madeleine Kelly, Malinda Farrington, Edgard Gallardo, Deirdre Goodwin, Richard Montoya, Lainie Sakakura, Alex Sanchez and Allyson Tucker.
Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life, according to production notes, is a "tour through landmark creations in the American theatre that were helmed by some of the greatest talents in its history, including Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Fosse, Gower Champion and Michael Kidd." The production will feature new songs by Ragtime's Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty and will include numbers from West Side Story, Chicago and Kiss of the Spider Woman.
The creative team for the new production includes Loy Arcenas (scenic design), Toni Leslie James (costume design), Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer (lighting design), Scott Lehrer (sound design) and Mark Hummel (musical direction).
Writer McNally said in a statement, "Chita Rivera is our strongest link to the Golden Age of the American Musical. She worked with all the great choreographers and composers and was present at the creation of such seminal masterpieces as The Dance at the Gym from West Side Story when the talent in the room was a veritable Mount Rushmore of the American theatre: Bernstein, Sondheim, Robbins, Laurents and Prince. I hope our show reminds audiences of what that level of theatre was like and what it still can be if the talent, the technique and the passion are there. Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life looks back in order to look forward." Born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero in 1933, Chita Rivera is one of the theatre's most acclaimed performers. She has won Tony Awards for her performances in two Kander and Ebb musicals, The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman, and was also nominated for her work in Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, Bring Back Birdie, Merlin, Jerry's Girls and her most recent outing, the Tony-winning revival of Nine. Rivera's other Broadway credits include the musical Seventh Heaven, her Broadway debut; Mr. Wonderful; the original production of West Side Story; and Bajour. She appeared in the film version of "Sweet Charity," starred in the world premiere of Kander and Ebb's The Visit, and also headlined Bernarda Alba at the Mark Taper Forum.
Tickets for the Old Globe run are available by calling (619) 234-5623 or by visiting www.TheOldGlobe.org.
Tickets for Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life on Broadway ($55-$100) are on sale through Telecharge (212) 239-6200 or Telecharge.com. The Schoenfeld box office opens Oct. 17.