Chita Rivera at Segerstrom Concert Hall

Photo Credit: Cheryl Mann, Laura Marie Duncan

Broadway legend Chita Rivera performed at the Segerstrom Concert Hall along with her daughter Lisa Mordente and singer George Dvorsky Sunday during the day. Chita Rivera: The Rhythm of My Life featured Rivera performing songs throughout her incredible Broadway career with her trio. Rivera is best known as the original Anita in  West Side Story (Broadway), Velma Kelly in Chicago (Broadway). Rivera’s incredible career began in 1950 as a dancer in Guys and Dolls and was a dancer in Can-Can three years later. Following West Side Story, Rivera played Rose Grant in Bye Bye Birdie which she received her first Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. Rivera would receive a total of 10 Tony Award nominations and three wins between 1960 and 2015. In 2005-06 Rivera had her own production Chita Rivera: The Dancers Life at the age of 72. Back in 2002 Rivera became the first Latina-American to become a Kennedy Center honoree and in 2009 received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Just a month before her 90th birthday, Rivera still performs on occasion. 

There were many highlights throughout the performance, but to name a few were performing “America” from West Side Story and a duet of “Class” from Chicago with her daughter Lisa recreating Gwen Verdon’s parts. Before bringing out Lisa, Rivera shared how she met Tony Mordente who played A-Rab in the original Broadway West Side Story and just a year later her daughter Lisa was born. Lisa would become an actress ,singer and choreographer. 

 Another highlight was “All That Jazz” from the Bob Fosse film of the same name. A number of the songs came from Kander and EBB who wrote the music to several of the productions Rivera acted in. Also, Liza Minelli worked with Kander and EBB. Rivera shared several stories throughout the performance and one in particular was starring with Minelli in “The Rink” and as it was in discussion, Rivera wanted the characters to be friends but ultimately ended up as mother and daughter to which Rivera had asked “Which one of us will be the mother and who will be the daughter?” Another great story was Rivera performing in front of the great Leonard Bernstein.