Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Chita Rivera: Still in the 'Swing' of things
by Jerry Nunn
2009-11-01

This article shared 5906 times since Sun Nov 1, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Chita Rivera, the Puerto Rican-American singer, actress and dancer is a legend in the world of musical theater. This two-time Tony Award winner is still swinging after all these years!

Windy City Times: Hola Chita. Your middle name is Conchita. [ Note: Her birth name is Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero. ] When did they start calling you Chita?

Chita Rivera: Well, it was in the '60s. I was going by Conchita Del Rivero and a show called Shoestring Review said that it was just too long [ and ] typically American. People had been calling me "Chita" so that was fine, but I wanted my last name to have an "a" on it. There's gotta be a rhythm to it. So then I thought Chita O'Hara because I loved Maureen O'Hara. But people then embarrassed me by hanging up when I called and said Chita O'Hara. For three days that lasted; then I changed to Rivera since it rolled off the tongue better.

WCT: There was a restaurant named after you called Chita's in New York.

CHITA RIVERA: Yes, it was open for six years. It was a lot of fun.

WCT: You originally started in a Broadway production Call Me Madam because you went with a friend to an audition. Did you ever think it would lead to all this?

CHITA RIVERA: It all starts very simply. If you are lucky it goes in the right direction. If you are unlucky then you are in trouble. It's all the games of life that happen.

WCT: I saw your performance in Kiss of the Spider Woman.

CHITA RIVERA: Oh, yes in Chicago. I love Chicago. I haven't been there since I did The Visit [ in 2001 ] .

WCT: You just won the Presidential Medal of Freedom this August given to you by Barack Obama. How was that experience?

CHITA RIVERA: It is something that I will never forget. Outside of having my daughter Lisa, it's the most exciting experience that I have ever had. This particular president is wonderful. To be along side these amazing people, it's a gift and you don't know how you did it. He said during his speech that these are people that do what they do because it's a passion, not for fame, not for money, just for hard work and they just do it. When you live your life like that and you are given a reward, you go wow! It's a great example for kids that something wonderful can happen if they work hard at what they do and do their very best. I am thrilled that I am considered an example.

WCT: Tell our readers about your new CD, And Now I Swing.

CHITA RIVERA: Well, years ago I did many shows in London. A producer named Michael Croiter said, "Let's do an album." The album was titled And Now I Sing. But we changed it to Swing so we could do a swing album. It started with songs that I had done in so many wonderful shows but we changed the beat. We did it from a different angle and that's what this is.

WCT: I loved hearing "Nowadays," from Chicago the Musical, on the CD.

CHITA RIVERA: I haven't even heard the whole thing yet. I don't listen to any of the shows that I have done until months later. It never seems to sound the way it feels. You know what I mean?

WCT: Yes, and it could change your performance also.

CHITA RIVERA: Yes, absolutely! When we do those cast albums, as far I am concerned and most feel this way, we do it much too soon. Because we haven't really discovered the characters until we have been running for a while.

WCT: You have a song called "Circle of Friends."

CHITA RIVERA: That's a wonderful song. It comes close to the end of my act. It's about all of my friends that I have had through my entire life. It brings the audience together.

WCT: Is there any role in a musical that you have wanted to do and haven't?

CHITA RIVERA: You know what? I haven't said that I wish I had done one that I haven't, no. Isn't that nice to say?

WCT: Yes, it is.

CHITA RIVERA: Besides the roles that I have been fortunate to do are all so gratifying. Many of them have been in shows that break boundaries. You have a diamond; what are you going to wish for—something bigger than a diamond? I don't think so! [ Both laugh. ] Except maybe another diamond, which is what I wished for when I did The Visit at the Goodman Theatre several years ago. The song "Love and Love Alone" is from that. Is the Goodman still running great?

WCT: Yes. They have a show called Animal Crackers about the Marx Brothers right now that a friend of mine is in.

CHITA RIVERA: Oh, wow! That sounds like fun. Wish your friend good luck from me.

WCT: I will. So what are doing "Nowadays?"

CHITA RIVERA: We are taking the show around the country. We are booked well into the next year. Some of them are just my trio and some with a thirty-piece symphony orchestra. I will have a variety of feeling musically, so we are excited about it.

It is an honor to talk to such an amazing performer. And Now I Swing is out now.


This article shared 5906 times since Sun Nov 1, 2009
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER When growth is paramount: Jim Corti helps fuel Aurora theater expansion 2024-03-01
- Out actor/director/choreographer Jim Corti made his Broadway debut in 1974, in the ensemble of Leonard Bernstein's musical Candide. Director Harold Prince's acclaimed Tony Award-winning revival is often cited as a ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Queer actors, icons duet, Hunter Schafer, Oscars, Elizabeth Taylor 2024-03-01
- Queer actor Kal Penn is set to star in Trust Me, I'm a Doctor—a film that chronicles the final days of actress/model Anna Nicole Smith, whose overdose death in 2007 at age 39 sparked a tabloid ...


Gay News

'Always Olivia' celebrates Olivia Newton-John at Raue Center 2024-02-26
- From a press release: Always Olivia, a tribute to one of the most celebrated and beloved pop culture icons of all time, the late Olivia Newton-John comes to Raue Center in Crystal Lake on Saturday, May ...


Gay News

Samuel Savoir-Faire Williams's violin stylings help COH mark Black History Month 2024-02-23
- As part of its celebration of Black History Month, Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., presented a solo jazz performance by violinist Samuel Savoir-Faire Williams on Feb. 21. The two-hour long performance presented a showcase ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Kristen Stewart, Rock Hudson, Talia Keys, 'True Detective,' Marvel comic 2024-02-23
- At the Berlin Film Festival, Kristen Stewart defended her photo shoot for a Rolling Stone magazine cover that went viral and divided audiences on social-media platforms, per The Hollywood Reporter. "The existence of a female body ...


Gay News

Theater Review: Billy Elliot, The Musical 2024-02-19
- Book and Lyrics: Lee Hall; Music: Elton John. At: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora Tickets: 630-896-6666 or Paramountaurora.com; $28-$79. Runs through March 24 Billy Elliot: The Musical may nearly be two decades old, but ...


Gay News

REFLECTIONS: An Evening of original music with the Jeannie Tanner Quartet 2024-02-19
--From a press release - REFLECTIONS will be a night of feel-good, upbeat original music written by Jeannie Tanner. Songs range from jazz, to pop, to soulful R&B. Jeannie's music can be heard in many television shows and movies, with recordings ...


Gay News

Lakeside Pride Wilde Cabaret Valentine's Day Feb. 17 2024-02-16
--From a press release - Lakeside Pride Wilde Cabaret puts their own spin on Valentine's Day with a show celebrating things done and sacrificed for love - not just romantic love, but love for pets, friends, family and art. Join the ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Elton John, Hannah Gadsby, video game, Jennifer Lopez, queer thriller 2024-02-16
Video below - Sir Elton John has sold his Atlanta home and is now auctioning off more than 900 of his personal items that were kept in the 13,500-square-foot condo, The Daily Mail noted. The massive collection includes rare ...


Gay News

Wic Whitney spills the Afternoon Tea 2024-02-15
- Born in Arkansas and now based in Chicago, queer performer Wic Whitney is a storyteller with a great deal to say, preaching his Southern soul message through unique vocal stylings as a rapper and singer. This ...


Gay News

CGMC presents Lipstick & Lyrics: Forty & Foxy, A Glamorous Feast for the Senses 2024-02-14
--From a press release - CHICAGO, February 13, 2024 — The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus proudly presents Lipstick & Lyrics: Forty & Foxy, a dazzling, live-singing drag show that celebrates the sensuality and empowerment of middle age. Get ready to unleash ...


Gay News

Cher, Mariah Carey among Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees 2024-02-11
- Cher, Mariah Carey among Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees On Feb. 10, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame announced the nominees for its 2024 class. According to NPR, two-thirds of the artists on the list for "rock's highest ...


Gay News

Dr. Lady J explains how opera can be a drag 2024-02-10
- On Feb. 8, Center on Halsted, in partnership with Lyric Opera of Chicago, presented a lecture by historian, drag activist, podcaster and curator Dr. Lady J. The event, titled "Castrated Superstars, Cross Dressed Divas, and Queer ...


Gay News

Asians and Friends Chicago to host LGBTQ Lunar New Year Dinner Feb. 24 2024-02-09
--From a press release - CHICAGO—Taking a cross-dressing twist for the Year of the Dragon, members of Asians and Friends Chicago (AFC) will host a dinner-and-drag musical revue, celebrating the Year of the "Drag-on" and bringing together members of the lesbian, ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Raven-Symone, women's sports, Wayne Brady, Jinkx Monsoon, British Vogue 2024-02-09
- In celebration of Black History Month, the LA LGBT Center announced that lesbian entertainer Raven-Symone will be presented with the Center's Bayard Rustin Award at its new event, Highly Favored, per a press release. She joins ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.