No, it's not quite Chita and Rita -- the legendary comic pairing of Forbidden Broadway -- but it's just as tantalizing: Chita and Carol. North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly, MA will offer Chita Rivera and Carol Channing in an aptly titled concert, "Broadway Legends: Together At Last." The show runs June 30-July 19.
The two stars will open with a duet, then go into individual sets featuring the songs they made famous. Channing will "jump from character to character;" Rivera promises "song and dance from the shows I've done, me and my guys." The show will close with another duet.
No director has yet been announced for the project, and when asked about future engagements for the duo, production spokesperson Christopher Kelly said, "I think they're waiting to see how things go, and future plans wil come from that."
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 audiences are wonderful," Rivera says of North Shore Music Theatre (where she's appeared six times previously), "they're real theatregoers."
Channing won a Tony for Hello, Dolly!, as well as a Lifetime Achievement Tony. She's also known for playing Lorelei in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She appeared at North Shore Music Theatre in 1961's Show Girl.
"Carol Channing and Chita Rivera are on the short list of great performers, mostly women," said executive producer Jon Kimbell. "Like Ethel Merman, Fanny Brice and Mary Martin, who defined the classic American musical theatre as much as the great composers and directors." For tickets ($27-$42) and information on "Broadway Legends In Concert," call (508) 922-8500.
Coming up at North Shore in the fall: the Lionel Bart musical, Oliver!, running Oct. 6-25. Jack Hofsiss (My Night With Reg) directs. Amadeus' F. Murray Abraham had been set to star but will appear on Broadway in Triumph Of Love instead.
Also on tap for the North Shore Season:
The current The Music Man with Bob Walton (Once Upon A Mattress) and Lee Merrill, directed by Greg Ganakas (June 2-21).
Tommy, the Peter Townshend/Who rock musical, directed by Tony Stevens and starring Jay Douglas (Aug. 4-23).
Little Me directed by David Bell, associate artistic director of Atlanta's Alliance Theatre. The show stars Lenora Nemitz (Sept. 8-27).
42nd Street directed by Barry Ivan (Nov. 3-22).
A Christmas Carol (Dec. 5-21).
--By David Lefkowitz