Dancing in Song…

November 24, 2009

And Now I Swing

  • Chita Rivera’s new CD, And Now I Swing, shows off what the dancer can do when we can’t see her. 

Musically, she’s a terrific storyteller who encompasses many moods.  Her version of Not Exactly Paris wrings every bit of poignancy out of the song while I Won’t Dance / Let Me Sing has an exquisite playfulness. 

To me, the most fascianting (and thinking about it unsurprising) strength of Rivera’s musical performance is her amazing sense of the beat.  This especially shows on the tricky timing of Carousel that she makes a easy but stunning showstopper.

  • I Won’t Dance / Let me Sing
  • Nowadays
  • Where Am I Going ?
  • Sweet Happy Life / Mas Que Nada
  • Love and Love Alone
  • Carousel
  • Not Exactly Paris
  • I Don’t Remember You
  • More Than You Know
  • Circle of Friends
  • A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square 

Chita Rivera in Playbill Online

November 10, 2009

Chita RiveraThe Playbill Online Diva Talk column has a great interview with Chita Rivera discussing her terrific new CD:

Question: How did you go about choosing the songs?

Rivera: I’ve just got this unbelievable repertoire of theatre songs. So Michael decided, why don’t we do our show and just change all the arrangements. Give them another face. And that’s what we’ve done. I think that, should I do another album, which I think I would like to do, I think probably I would then do [a jazz CD]… I used to talk to Rosemary Clooney, who was a friend, and I would say, “That’s what I want to do at some time in my life! I want to sing some Johnny Mercer. I want to sing some fabulous jazz composers’ songs.” I think this is a step towards that.

Plus it has reviews of the new Liz Callaway, Rebecca Luker, and Kate Baldwin CDs.

Stephen Holden on Chita Rivera

November 20, 2008

The NYTimes reviews Chita Rivera at Feinstein’s: “Chita Rivera begins her new show at Feinstein’s at Loews Regency with a disclaimer. She is not going to dance (“I Won’t Dance”); instead she will sing (“Let Me Sing and I’m Happy”). But at Tuesday’s opening night performance of a two-week engagement, Ms. Rivera, dressed in bright red with matching earrings, never stopped moving, even as she sang in the hard gravelly voice of experience.”

The Visit at Signature

June 13, 2008

I caught The Visit at Signature over the weekend and enjoyed it much more than I was expecting to from the reviews I read.  It helped that I had seen the original play when Arena did it, so I was not unfamiliar with the material.

It’s certainly a stellar evening in the theater!  The score was pleasant overall, although it felt a little more on the level of 70 Girls 70 than Cabaret.  And what a cast!  Chita Rivera gives an example of what old-fashioned star power means.  Even when doing nothing, I found her mesmerizing.  And then there’s solid talent all the way around.  For goodness sakes, Jerry Lanning, the original Young Patrick in Mame, who I saw on Broadway in My Fair Lady, was in a supporting role!!!

The one warning — the show is being performed in the 3/4 round, but feels like it was really staged for a proscenium.  So I’d strongly advise a seat in the center section, if possible. 

The New York Times on The Visit

June 1, 2008

The NY Times makes a rare visit south to comment on the DC theater scene: “The macabre and the misty-eyed vie uneasily for supremacy in “The Visit,” a musical adaptation of Friedrich Dürrenmatt’s 1956 tragicomedy about vengeance and venality, at the Signature Theater here.”

Stephen Holden on Chita Rivera

November 10, 2007

The New York Times review of Rivera’s cabaret act:  “Ms. Rivera’s physical and emotional vitality and her mischievous sense of fun (the gleam and the smirk suggest she has a maniacally playful side that enjoys breaking rules) dominate her material. If her voice is harsh and weathered, it is never less than expressive, most notably at Tuesday’s opening-night performance in a rendition of the evening’s show-stopping ballad, “Where Am I Going?” from “Sweet Charity.””

Looking forward to seeing her in The Visit at Signature!!!