Rivera will be honored by the National Corporate Theatre Fund in a gala evening that will feature Never Gonna Dance's Jerry Mitchell as Master of Ceremonies. Tony winner Frank Langella will present Rivera with the Theatre Artist Award, and the evening will include a performance from Kander and Ebb's The Visit as well as entertainment from Annie Get Your Gun's Brent Barrett.
The 2004 Chairman's Awards Gala will also honor Altria Group, Inc. with NCTF’s Corporate Leadership Award and Rosalyn and Irwin Engelman with NCTF’s Leadership Award. In a statement NCTF's Executive Director Bruce E. Whitacre said, "Each of our honorees has made enormous contributions to American theatre. Chita has changed lives with her outstanding performances, from West Side Story to Nine just last year. Cutting edge theatre and dance would not exist without Altria Group, which has been a mainstay of NCTF. And Rosalyn and Irwin Engelman have been passionate supporters of the Long Wharf Theatre and National Corporate Theatre Fund nearly since the Fund’s creation over two decades ago. Gathering these legends in the arts world together in one event is itself cause for celebration. To do so along with our member theatres and the writers, directors and actors whose work has graced over two dozen stages and over 100 productions in 11 communities is a landmark occasion not to be missed."
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 evening begins with cocktails at 6:30 PM followed by dinner, performance and a silent auction. The Essex House is located in Manhattan at 160 Central Park South. Tickets for the gala begin at $1,000 and can be ordered by calling Christopher Wynn at (212) 750-6895 or by e-mailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.