On Wednesday, the leggy and legendary Chita Rivera turns 80. “It’s just a number,” the triple threat joked at a recent press event at Birdland, “I thank Max Factor and Disney for putting me together.”
The famed dancer, who currently stars in the revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, was announcing her upcoming gala concert “Chita: A Legendary Celebration,” a benefit for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS on October 7.
Although Rivera wouldn’t give out any names, she hinted that she’ll be re-creating career highlights with friends from collaborations past. Gods of the theater, we beseech thee: reunite Chita and Liza for a medley from The Rink! Chita and Dick van Dyke for the best of Bye Bye Birdie! A recreation of West Side Story‘s “A Boy Like That” with Chita and Carol Lawrence, who originated the role of Maria!
But Chita, the original Anita, had a few other surprises: She’s also releasing a coffee-table book with exclusive personal notes, photographs, and anecdotes. “I knew I’d end up on a table,” Chita quipped. A documentary with footage of her illustrious career is also in the works.
UP TO BATT
We’ve long been fans of out actor Bryan Batt‘s work on film (Jeffrey), television (Mad Men), and stage (Sunset Boulevard). But now we’re simply mad about the boy, since we discovered he’s as much a theater queen as we are: In a Broadway.com interview, he shares that the Hair and Ragtime soundtracks are the most played on his iTunes, that seeing Liza in concert at 16 changed his life forever, and that dental drama forced him to cancel a scheduled duet with Betty Buckley in her cabaret show. [Broadway.com]
ALL IN THE FAMILY
Staged by The Echo Theater Company, A Family Thing by Gary Lennon involves the reunion of three brothers who need to settle a score. The eldest is a struggling addict, the middle a recently released ex-con, and the youngest a gay screenwriter. Have you met a gay screenwriter in Hollywood? We’re betting he’s the black sheep of the family. Performances begin February 16. [Echo Theater Company]
Actor Victor Garber officially came out lasts week and, while he’s best known for numerous film and TV roles, his Broadway credentials are impressive, as well.
Did you know Garber:
* originated the role of Johanna’s suitor, Anthony, in Sweeney Todd?
* starred as the wily devil Applegate in the 1994 revival of Damn Yankees, which co-starred Bebe Neuwirth as Lola?
* played Clifford in the 1979 Broadway debut of Deathtrap?
* co-starred in Art with Alan Alda and Alfred Molina?
* whooped it up with the legendary Dorothy Loudon in the Broadway premiere of Noises Off?