Will Chita Rivera come to Broadway next season with her song and dance revue?
Back in March, production spokesperson Merle Frimark told Playbill On Line, "We have no place to put [Rivera]. At this point, everything's booked. But if something opens up..."
Reached Apr. 28, spokespersons for Chita & All That Jazz still weren't ready to announce anything as far as Broadway or touring, though they expected some news imminently. The show last played in St. Petersburg, FL, through Feb. 15.
Several Playbill On-Line readers have written in to note that the show has already announced touring dates in Baltimore's Lyric Opera House in late May. Another reader noted (and Playbill On-Line confirmed) that Atlantic City, NJ's casino, Resorts International, would host the show June 29-Aug. 22.
Rivera is a two-time Best Actress Tony winner (The Rink, Kiss of the Spider Woman) who also starred in Bye Bye Birdie and Chicago. The material is listed as "conceived and written" by Fred Ebb, lyricist of the Kander & Ebb team that wrote both her Tony-winning shows. Alan Johnson directs. Rivera, the original Anita in West Side Story, will be supported in the show by six male dancers.
Her show has been presented in San Francisco, Palm Desert, CA, Stamford CT and elsewhere.
In other Rivera news, Dear World, Jerry Herman's musicalization of The Madwoman of Chaillot, is on the brink of getting a 30th anniversary spin from The Roundabout Theatre in a revival for next season that would star Rivera, one of the original Jerry's Girls.
Director Scott Ellis pulled together a workshop to that effect and put the project into rehearsal Mar. 30 for a staged-reading presentation two weeks later. David Thomson, who worked with Ellis on And the World Goes 'Round and Steel Pier, is revising the musical's book, which Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee adapted from the famous Jean Giradoux play.
The original Broadway production, directed and choreographed by Joe Layton and produced by Alexander H. Cohen, opened Feb. 6, 1969, at the Mark Hellinger Theatre and ran only 132 performances--but this was enough for Angela Lansbury to win the second of her four Tony Awards.
The show reunited La Lansbury with her Mame authors, but it suffered from comparison--although Herman's score is still hailed as one of his most melodic; some of the songs have gone on to become cult favorites and evergreens ("And I Was Beautiful," "I Don't Want To Know," "I've Never Said I Love You," "Kiss Her Now," "One Person," the title tune, et al).
A dream cast, almost all Tony winners, is being assembled to support Rivera's Countess Aurelia. Debra (Ah, Wilderness!) Monk and Madeline (The Sisters Rosensweig) Kahn will play Gabrielle and Constance, the other two madwomen originated by Jane Connell and Carmen Matthews, and Audra (Ragtime) MacDonald is doing the Pamela Hall part of Nina. In Milo O'Shea's role of Sewerman is Alfred Molina, who is currently delivering his first Tony-eligible performance in Art.
"We're just going to work on it the first two weeks in April," says Ellis. "Then, we'll do the reading and see how it feels, see what we have."
Rivera told Playbill On-Line (Mar. 12), "We'll bring it in [to NY] but not until we get it perfect."
-- By David Lefkowitz
and Harry Haun