Over the past seven decades, Broadway star Chita Rivera has taken on and defined some of American musical theater’s most iconic roles: Anita in “West Side Story,” Rose in “Bye Bye Birdie,” Velma. Kelly in “Chicago”.
In her upcoming memoir, Rivera introduces her fans and readers to a character she rarely plays in public: her alter ego, Dolores. And Dolores, named by Rivera, can be a bit confusing, according to Rivera’s co-author, journalist Patrick Pacheco.
When they first sat down to discuss the memoir in the summer of 2020, Pacheco asked Rivera what people didn’t know about her.
“She said, ‘Well, I’m not nearly as nice as people think I am,’ he recalls. “I said, ‘Great, let’s introduce her to the public.'”
In her untitled book, due out in 2023 from HarperOne and to be released simultaneously in English and Spanish, Rivera describes her unlikely path to stardom. Born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero in 1933, Rivera grew up in Washington, DC, where her mother worked as a government secretary and her father played the clarinet and saxophone for the United States Navy Band.
She was so good and watched plays at home that her mother signed her up for ballet lessons. She won a scholarship to George Balanchine‘S American Ballet School and went on to have roles in musicals such as “Call Me Madam”, “Guys and Dolls”, “Can-Can” and “West Side Story”, where she had her breakout performance as Anita in original musical. Over the decades, she has been nominated for 10 Tony Awards and won twice, and received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2009, President Barack Obama presented her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Early in her career, Puerto Rican-born Rivera worked to combat the stereotypes imposed on her in a largely white creative industry.
“She was always empowered from the start to play whatever she felt she could play,” Pacheco said.
Some of the world’s most influential composers and choreographers have been drawn to Rivera’s magnetism and perfectionism. In her memoir, she describes working with Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, Bob Fosse, Hal Prince and Fred Ebb, and her experiences with stars and co-stars such as Elaine Stritch, Dick Van Dyke, Liza Minnelli and Sammy Davis Jr.
Rivera, who turns 89 this month, has carried out previous career re-investigation, including “Dancer’s life, ”A musical celebrating her career. But while friends and colleagues have urged her to write her memoirs for years, she never felt the urge until recently.
“I’ve never been one to look back,” Rivera said in a statement released by her publisher. “I hope my words and thoughts on my life and career resonate and readers can discover some things about me they never knew.”
Although she had a lasting influence on the stage as a performer, Rivera was not a writer, and Pacheco was a natural collaborator – he first met her on those days. 1970 and interviewed her extensively in 2005 when he was invited as a researcher for “Life of a Dancer. ”
He and Rivera would meet or talk on the phone once or twice a week while they were writing the book, and he urged Rivera to open up about her private life and be frank about the negatives. hers, Pacheco said. “Put them in the room with Chita,” he remembered telling her, “but put them in the room with Dolores.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/arts/chita-rivera-book.html Chita Rivera’s book will introduce fans to her true self