Five Burning Questions with Broadway Legend Chita Rivera
December 25th, 2013
by Josh Ferri
New York hotspot 54 Below is celebrating the New Year with Broadway royalty: two-time Tony winner Chita Rivera. The Broadway icon, whose illustrious credits include the original productions of West Side Story, Chicago, Bye, Bye Birdie, The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman, is offering two shows on December 31 at the underground nightclub. BroadwayBox caught up with the nine-time Tony nominee to talk about her Italian fantasies, holiday leftovers and her next big musical, The Visit.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? What is it for 2014?
No, I don’t; but this next year, I want to make sure I get to Italy and take my daughter. We went this year, and we decided we really have to travel more often. And I’m giving all my attention and passion to The Visit. It’s a great show and a great story.
The Visit is another Kander and Ebb show, and you’ve had such success with them before. What do you love about their leading ladies?
They are strong women who believe in themselves and whatever they care about. They’re strong, they’re passionate, they get things done, they are clever, they are funny [and] they make men pay for what they’ve done.
What’s Chita Rivera’s signature dish? What’s your favorite thing you make?
I’m a great leftovers gal. I can make some good food out of what’s in the refrigerator—my mother taught me that. And I like that because there’s no waste. With my leftovers from Thanksgiving and Christmas, I can make some serious soup.
What’s the last musical you saw that really moved you?
I loved In the Heights. I thought it was real and there were a lot of talented people. I loved the score; I got really involved. I liked it a lot.
Where is paradise for you?
Paradise absolutely is Positano, Italy. You fly to Naples. You take the Amalfi drive— which is gorgeous—and it’s in the mountains. It’s all in the mountains, and it can never change because of where it is. It is undoubtedly my favorite spot.