The Los Angeles Philharmonic has a marvelous series called the Songbook Series that features world-famous artists presenting evenings of song. Past artists have included John Pizzarelli doing his Sinatra tribute, Randy Newman, Barbara Cook, Burt Bacharach, Bernadette Peters, and k.d. lang. On June 6th the special guest was the incomparable Chita Rivera, looking fantastic for her some 74 years in show business and sounding marvelous in Disney Hall.
Chita Rivera has had a long and very distinguished career as a triple threat. She is an accomplished actor, singer, and dancer. She has won two Tony Awards, one as Best Leading Actress in a Musical for Kiss Of The Spider Woman, and one for her performance in The Rink. She has received seven other Tony nominations. Most recently she starred in the Broadway and touring production of The Dancer’s Life, which celebrated her incredible career, written by Terrence McNally and directed by Graciela Daniele. Ms. Rivera received the highest arts honor awarded by the United States, the Kennedy Center Award, and was the first Hispanic to be so honored. Most recently she starred in the revival of Nine on Broadway with Antonio Banderas and in The Visit, a new Kander and Ebb Musical that will most likely play in New York.
The Secret of Life is really her cabaret act that she has performed all over the world. The act features songs from many of her hits, including “America” from West Side Story, “Where Am I Going” from Sweet Charity, “All That Jazz” and “Nowadays” from Chicago, and songs from Bye Bye Birdie, The Visit, Kiss of The Spider Woman, and The Rink. Included were the music of John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cy Coleman, Leonard Bernstein, Charles Strouse, and Stephen Sondheim. The title of the concert is taken from a song by James Taylor that expresses the necessity to live in the moment and enjoy all that life has to offer.
Ms. Rivera was in great form and thrilled her audience with this concert of her hits that paralleled the grand history of Broadway, in which she played a leading role. Since the Ahmanson canceled her show The Dancer’s Life it was particularly satisfying to get to attend this concert. Chita Rivera performed on June 6th at Disney Hall.