All tagged Chita Rivera

Remembering Bajour

In 1964, a musical opened on Broadway that neither a runway hit, nor was it a calamitous flop. The musical drew its inspiration from two Joseph Mitchell New Yorker short stories: “The Gypsy Women” and “The King of the Gypsies”. The score for the show was written by Walter Marks (who is probably best known for writing the song standard “I Gotta Be Me” recorded by the likes of Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis, Jr.) and a book by playwright and screenwriter Ernest Kinoy. The musical was the also-ran Bajour, a show that, despite some detractions, also had much to recommend, particularly in Marks’ lively score. 

Broadway Musical Magic: Remembering The Magic Show and Merlin

Hardly anyone ever speaks of this long-running musical of the 1970s, and a revival of the show most certainly will never happen, but it is hard to dismiss the Broadway success of The Magic Show. Tailored around and to the talents of magician Doug Henning, The Magic Showfeatured a score by Stephen Schwartz (PippinGodspellWicked) and a book by Bob Randall. Though the Schwartz score has some gems worth listening to, the plot for The Magic Showis relatively thin. This is arguably beside the point, since the real intention of the musical was not to succeed as a musical at all, but to capitalize on Henning’s talents as an illusionist and on his celebrity (which was climbing in the early 1970s). 

Broadway Blip: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

What do you do when Charles Dickins begins writing a murder mystery story, but never finishes it? You turn it into a musical, of course, and let the audience vote at each performance to decide which character they want to be the culprit. That is exactly what Rupert Holmes did when wrote the musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The musical, sometimes abbreviated to simply “Drood,” is an interactive experience for audiences, making it Broadway’s most original whodunit. 

Video Binge: Chita Rivera — Lifetime Achievement in Spades

Chita Rivera is receiving a Lifetime Achievement Tony Award at this year’s ceremony, and I simply cannot think of any performer who now, or ever, has deserved it more. With all due respect to any performer who carves out an enduring career in the theatre, no other actress has demonstrated such longevity, durability, and talent in this business. Few others have been quite as beloved.

Let us consider for a moment that Ms. Rivera has starred in a Broadway musical every decade since the 1950s, often originating roles and giving them her own distinctive flair. She is also a powerhouse triple threat: singing, acting, and most impressively, dancing, through originating such roles such as Anita in West Side Story, Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie, and Velma Kelly in Chicago