Chita Rivera, the iconic Broadway legend, has passed away at the age of 91. She was known for her incredible performances in more than 20 Broadway musicals over a career that spanned six decades. Some of her most memorable roles include Anita in West Side Story, Rose in Bye Bye Birdie, Velma Kelly in Chicago, and Aurora in Kiss of the Spiderwoman.

Rivera’s presence on stage was described as unique, spontaneous, and compelling. According to Laurence Maslon, co-producer of the 2004 PBS series Broadway: The American Musical, “She was everything Broadway was meant to be.”

Born in Washington D.C. as Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero, Chita Rivera was initially a tomboy who was put into ballet classes by her mother. Rivera’s talent shone early on, leading her to receive a scholarship to the School of American Ballet in New York. Her career transitioned to Broadway after she successfully auditioned for the tour of the Broadway show Call Me Madam. Her breakthrough role came in 1957 when she played Anita in West Side Story.

Rivera’s role in West Side Story showcased not only her athletic dancing skills but also her acting and singing abilities. This combination made her a sought-after talent on Broadway, setting her apart as one of the industry’s first great triple threats.

Despite facing a major setback in 1986 when she was involved in a life-threatening taxi accident, Rivera defied the odds by returning to dance, albeit in a different manner. Her resilience earned her several prestigious awards and accolades, including multiple Tony Awards and a Kennedy Center honor.

Chita Rivera’s passing marks the end of an era in Broadway history. Her dedication to live performances and her unmatched stage presence have solidified her legacy as a Broadway legend. Maslon sums it up best by saying “Hopefully, you get to see them live because you’ll never get to see them in another form in quite the same way.” Rivera’s impact on Broadway will forever be remembered and cherished.

Summery :

-Chita Rivera passed away at the age of 91, her daughter confirmed.
-She won several Tony awards and was awarded a Kennedy Center honor
-Her career spanned six decades, where she starred in over 20 Broadway musicals
-She was a triple threat – acting, singing, dancing
-Some of her most iconic roles include Anita in West Side Story, Rose in Bye Bye Birdie as well as Aurora in Kiss of the Spiderwoman
-At the age of 56, doctors said she would never dance again after a serious taxi accident
-Despite the prediction, she did continue performing again but differently.

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