Chita Rivera originated some of the most indelible roles of Broadway’s Golden Age: Anita in West Side Story, Velma in Chicago, Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie. She also starred in the film version of Sweet Charity alongside Shirley MacLaine and Paula Kelly, but Hollywood never called her away from the Great White Way for long.
Chita Rivera performs Friday at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. (Laura Marie Duncan)
With parts designed for her by the likes of playwright Terrence McNally, songwriters John Kander and Fred Ebb and choreographer Bob Fosse, she has performed alongside Dick Van Dyke, Gwen Verdon and Liza Minnelli. Evidently not satisfied with nine Tony nominations — and two wins, for The Rink (1984) and Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993) — she went on to nab a 10th nomination in 2015 for The Visit.