FOLSOM — Celebrate the one and only Broadway legend Chita Rivera in a unique solo concert event celebrating her 80th birthday next month at Harris Center for the Arts.
Direct from her sold-out smash concert in New York, the multiple Tony Award winner will recreate signature moments from her legendary career including numbers from “West Side Story,” “Sweet Charity,” “Chicago,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Bye, Bye, Birdie” and “The Rink.” In addition to a special tribute to her dear friends John Kander & Fred Ebb, the timeless music of Leonard Bernstein, Charles Strouse, Jerry Herman and Stephen Sondheim will also be featured, with live orchestral accompaniment by the Folsom Symphony conducted by Michael Croiter.
“A girl only turns 80 once in her life, thank God,” Rivera said, “and I want everyone there as proof.”
A theatrical icon and one of Broadway’s greatest triple-threat talents, Rivera has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in a Musical and received seven additional Tony nominations. She recently starred in the successful production of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” on Broadway and starred in the Broadway and touring productions of “The Dancer’s Life,” a dazzling new musical celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Graciela Daniele. She recreated her starring role in “The Visit,” the new Kander/Ebb/McNally musical at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, Va. (originally done at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago in 2001). She also starred in the revival of the Broadway musical “Nine” with Antonio Banderas.
Rivera trained as a ballerina from age 11 before receiving a scholarship to the American School of Ballet from legendary George Balanchine. Chita’s first appearance, at age 17, was as a principal dancer in “Call Me Madam.” Her electric performance as Anita in the Broadway premiere of “West Side Story” (1957) brought her stardom, which she repeated in London. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in “Bye Bye Birdie,” “The Rink” (Tony Award), “Chicago,” “Jerry’s Girls,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (Tony Award) and the original Broadway casts of “Guys and Dolls,” “Can-Can,” “Seventh Heaven” and “Mr. Wonderful.” On tour, she has performed in “Born Yesterday,” “The Rose Tattoo,” “Call Me Madam,” “Threepenny Opera,” “Sweet Charity,” “Kiss Me Kate,” “Zorba,” “Can-Can with The Rockettes.”
Chita was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in August 2009. She received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in Washington, D.C., in December 2002 and was the first Hispanic woman ever chosen to receive this award. In May 2013, she was appointed to a special Kennedy Center Honors Advisory Committee. Rivera’s current solo CD is entitled “And Now I Swing.”
Chita: A Legendary Celebration performs at7:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 24 & 25. Tickets are $39 to $55 with premium seats available for $65. Tickets are available online at harriscenter.net, from Harris Center Ticket Office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Parking is included in the price of the ticket. Harris Center is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.