DIVA TALK: Catching Up With Tony Winner and The Mystery of Edwin Drood Star Chita Rivera

By Andrew Gans
16 Nov 2012

Rivera and John Cullum at the November 2011 benefit performance of The Visit.
photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Question: What advice do you have for people starting out in the business because I'm sure you must get asked that a lot?
Rivera: I know. [Laughs.] And, you always wonder, "Have I said anything that really helped?" [Laughs.] I always say, "Be ready. Be willing. Listen. And, totally try to enjoy it, and don't give up. Just stay with it. And, don't give up your values." The business is changing, so there are a lot of things that I don't understand and don't like the looks of, but the old-fashioned way really is the best way, and that is to not think that you know it all because you don't. You have to listen to your directors and choreographers and study and work hard. It's not easy. It's just not easy… But, dancers, I always tell, "Go to ballet school. Study hard, and just love what you do."

Question: Is there anything that you haven't gotten to do as an artist that you would still like to try?
Rivera: Actually, if I said I wanted anything else, I'd be really selfish and foolish… No. I honestly can't. I just want to make sure that I [exit] gracefully if I decide that I don't want to communicate anymore — because communicating is what we do in the theatre, telling stories and all of that. When I decide I just want to stop doing it, I want to make sure [of] that… Everything that has happened to me has been so wonderful, I don't want to mess it up. I want it to be as glorious as it has been for me, and I'll always be grateful for all those people that have made me whatever and whoever I am. [Laughs.] Because you never really know who you are! You pass that mirror, and you keep changing, don't you? [Laughs.]

Question: One last question: Anything happening with The Visit at this point?
Rivera: Oh, you just said the word — two words! We're hoping. We're still, still hoping… Mario Cantone came in the other night, and he loved the show, but then he went on to talk about the thing that's my heart, and The Visit is my heart. So, if you will just say a couple of prayers also! [Laughs.] It worked with Obama, maybe it'll work with The Visit! [Laughs.]

[Tickets are available by calling Roundabout Ticket Services at (212) 719-1300, going online at roundabouttheatre.org or at the Studio 54 box office (254 West 54th Street). Ticket prices range from $42-$137. ]

Well, that's all for now. Happy diva-watching! E-mail questions or comments to agans@playbill.com.