The New York Times reports that Rivera, most recently on Broadway in the Tony-winning revival of Nine, is one of nine individuals or organizations to receive the award, which was established in 1976. Last year, Bloomberg revived the honors, which hadn't been awarded since 1994. In addition to Rivera, the 2005 honorees include Wynton Marsalis, Billy Collins, the Annenberg Foundation, Deutsche Bank, the Ghetto Film School, Waverly School of the Arts principal Oswaldo Malave, Department of Education local instructional superintendent Martha Rodriguez-Torres and Brooklyn Botanic Garden's president and chief executive Judith D. Zuk. The recipients will receive their awards at Gracie Mansion.
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. Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life will debut as part of the Old Globe's 2005-2006 season.