[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for providing all links for this post.] Several news outlets have announced the recent news that actor Chita Rivera received the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement alongside another Broadway legend, Andrew Lloyd Webber. As the Latin American Post writes, this actor of Puerto Rican descent is the first Latina to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Tonys. She was also the first Latina to receive a Kennedy Center Honors award (in 2002). [See her acceptance speech in the last link below.] Here are excerpts from Broadway World.
An accomplished and versatile actress/singer/dancer, Chita Rivera has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in a Musical and received five additional Tony nominations. Chita recently starred in London, Las Vegas, and Toronto productions of Chicago-The Musical and toured with her new musical, Chita & All That Jazz, a musical celebration of her spectacular life in the theatre.
Ms. Rivera created the role of Velma Kelly in the original Broadway production of Chicago opposite Gwen Verdon and appeared as Roxie in the Atlantic City production of Chicago. Winner of 1993 Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for Kiss of the Spider Woman on Broadway, she began training as a ballerina at age 11 and shortly thereafter was given a scholarship to the American School of Ballet by the legendary George Balanchine.
The ballet world lost and Broadway gained a future star when the 17-year-old aspiring ballerina was cast as a principal dancer in Call Me Madam. It was her electric performance as Anita in West Side Story that brought her stardom in 1957.
Her rich and varied Broadway career is highlighted by starring performances in Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, The Rink (for which she won both the Tony and Drama Desk Awards), Jerry’s Girls, and the Broadway and touring productions of Kander and Ebb’s Kiss of the Spider Women directed by Harold Prince. She recreated the role of the fiery Anita in the Original London Production of West Side Story and returned to the West End in 1960 as Rosie in Bye Bye Birdie. She has returned to London on several occasions to perform in concert at the famed London Palladium and to sing and dance in tribute to Broadway composer Jerry Herman.
Her earlier Broadway productions include the original casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven, and Mr. Wonderful. On National Tour, Chita starred in Born Yesterday; The Rose Tatoo; Call Me Madam; Threepenny Opera; Sweet Charity; Kiss Me Kate; and Zorba, and a National Tour of Can-Can with the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes took her to Japan. Chita also played Nicky in the film version of Sweet Charity with Shirley MacLaine. Her most treasured production is her daughter, Lisa Mordente.
See original article here: “Chita Rivera Wins 2018 Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement Award” Broadway World, June 10, 2018, https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/Chita-Rivera-Wins-2018-Tony-Award-for-Lifetime-Achievement-Award-20180610
Also see related articles: “With a Lifetime Achievement Tony on Her Mantle, Chita Rivera Reveals the Secret to a Lifelong Broadway Career and Her Upcoming New York Concert Return,” Adam Hetrick, Playbill, June 20, 2018
“Who is Chita Rivera and why did she win one of the most prestigious awards in theatre?
Meet the woman of Puerto Rican descent who is the first Latina to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Tonys” Laura Rocha Rueda, Latin American Post, June 2018