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.