The nation's oldest non-profit workshop "dedicated to the development of new playwrights" is honoring Rivera with its 2006 Career Achievement Award at a ceremony at the New York Marriott Marquis. Rivera will receive tributes from fellow Tony winner Ben Vereen and forthcoming "View" host Rosie O'Donnell.
Among those scheduled to attend the Chita festivities are Lynn Ahrens, David Auburn, Alec Baldwin, Walter Bobbie, Marge Champion, Jill Clayburgh, Robert Cuccioli, Jim Dale, Stephen Flaherty, David Garrison, Ana Gasteyer, Ben Gazzara, Sheldon Harnick, Kitty Carlisle Hart, Maurice Hines, Judith Ivey, Sarah Jones, John Kander, Lisa Kron, LaChanze, Angela Lansbury, David Lindsay-Abaire, Donald Margulies, James McDaniel, Audra McDonald, John McMartin, Patricia Morrison, Donna Murphy, Marsha Norman, Estelle Parsons, Joyce Randolph, Lee Roy Reams, Tony Roberts, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Marian Seldes, Amy Spanger, Tony Stevens, Charles Strouse, Joyce Van Patten, John Weidman, Doug Wright and John Lloyd Young.
The annual luncheon salutes an artist who has made an "outstanding artistic contribution to the American theatre." Past honorees include George C. Wolfe, Meryl Streep, Barbara Cook, Angela Lansbury, Julie Andrews, Glenn Close, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Neil Simon, Jerry Herman, Stephen Sondheim, August Wilson, Gwen Verdon, Terrence McNally and Arthur Miller.
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.
The 56th Annual Benefit Luncheon will be held in the Broadway Ballroom of the New York Marriott Marquis, located in New York at 1535 Broadway. Tickets, priced at $250, are available by calling (212) 757-6960, ext. 13. Founded in 1949 by Michaela O’Harra in association with Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Moss Hart, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, New Dramatists has fostered the works of Paula Vogel, August Wilson, William Inge, Paddy Chayefsky, John Guare, John Patrick Shanley, Emily Mann and Suzan-Lori Parks. New Dramatists was the recipient of a special Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre in 2001, and its playwrights have garnered 14 Pulitzers, 20 Tony Awards, 63 Obie Awards and 17 New York Drama Critics Circle Awards.