Broadway shows, other scheduled events and most of New York City shut down last night in preparation for the blizzard predicted to be one of the City’s worst winter storms ever. This did not deter Broadway icon Chita Rivera, her musicians or the producers at THIRTEEN who had previously scheduled a concert taping for January 26. THIRTEEN is producing Great Performances: Chita Rivera, a special retrospective to celebrate Ms. Rivera’s extraordinary career then and now for broadcast as part of PBS’ Fall Arts Festival 2015.
I was lucky enough to be front and center in the packed audience of Ms. Rivera’s die-hard fans at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s The Appel Room/ in the Time Warner Center. The two-time Tony Award winner gave us the old razzle dazzle as she performed signature moments from her legendary career including numbers from West Side Story, Sweet Charity, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Bye, Bye, Birdie, The Rink and The Visit, along with a special tribute to her dear friends John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally. The divine Ms. Rivera was on fire during this truly magical evening of historic proportions, framed by the Appel Room’s picturesque winter wonderland backdrop of Central Park and Columbus Circle.
Ms. Rivera was accompanied by an 11-piece orchestra led by her music director Michael Croiter, and long-time associate music director/pianist Michael Patrick Walker and bassist Jim Donica.
This spring, Ms. Rivera returns to Broadway in THE VISIT, the final musical written by John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally. Co-starring Roger Rees, the production will be directed by John Doyle and choreographed by Graciele Daniele. Previews begin March 26 and opens April 23 at the Lyceum Theatre.
Visit Great Performances Online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information about this and other programs.
Major support for Great Performances is provided by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Agnes Varis Trust, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and PBS.
As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mary Alice Williams and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore App where users can stream PBS content for free.
Other articles by Lia Chang:
Jennifer Phang’s ADVANTAGEOUS Featuring Jacqueline Kim, James Urbaniak, Freya Adams, Ken Jeong, Jennifer Ehle, Samantha Kim, Jeanne Sakata, Jennifer Ikeda and Matthew Kim, Screens at 2015 Sundance Film Festival, January 26-31
Two-Time Tony Award Nominee André De Shields, Bowman Wright, E. Faye Butler, KenYatta Rogers, Jessica Frances Dukes and Michael Anthony Williams Set for Arena Stage’s King Hedley II, February 6- March 8, 2015
Unsuk Chin’s Opera Alice in Wonderland, Featuring Libretto Co-Written with David Henry Hwang, Set for UK Premiere at the Barbican Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Novels on March 8, 2015
Photos: Tommy Tune, Bob Avian, Lee Roy Reams, Christine Toy Johnson, Orville Mendoza, Lori Tan Chinn, Raul Aranas, Virginia Wing and More Celebrate 2014 Paul Robeson Citation Award Recipient Baayork Lee Crafting a Career
Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.
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