Remembering: Chita Rivera
One of Broadways Brightest Stars, Passes at 91
Remembering the legendary Chita Rivera
Known for her seven-decade-long career in theater, Tony Award winner Chita Rivera has sadly passed away at 91.
Best known for originating the role of Anita in West Side Story, Rivera was often called a triple threat'; she sang, danced, and acted her way through numerous other iconic Broadway roles such as Velma in Chicago and Rose in Bye Bye Birdie.
Culturally, Rita was a hero for Latina women in the US. Becoming one of the most iconic ladies in the world of theater during a time when it was predominantly white, inspired thousands of women not just from Puerto Rico, but from around the world. In 2015, Rita performed in her last Broadway appearance, The Visit', with late actor Roger Rees.
Since the news of her passing, many famous names have paid tribute to the legend.
Andrew Lloyd Webber had this to say on Instagram about Rita: "You redefined the words theatrical legend'.
He also recalled a special moment they shared, "I'll never forget how we laughed backstage before we got lifetime Tonys. I stifled hiccups through my speech. I am truly honored to have shared a moment with you".
The Tony Awards called her a "Broadway legend ... whose grace, talent, and passion left an unforgettable mark on the world of theatre".
Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the first film version of West Side Story in 1961, led the tributes, describing her as "the essence of Broadway".