Anita, Velma, Rosie, Nickie, Charity, Aurora. Recognize these ladies? They have all been played by Chita Rivera, the two-time Tony winner for “The Rink” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” who made them her own on Broadway, on tour, and in the movies. Rivera even played herself on Broadway in the autobiographical revue, “Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life.”
The Boston Theater Critics Association has announced that Chita Rivera will receive this year’s Elliot Norton Lifetime Achievement Award on May 13 at the Paramount Center. The award is named for the esteemed Boston theater critic who died 10 years ago at the age of 100, and Rivera will be in town to accept the honor. Tickets go on sale April 8 (use the “NortonSave” code to receive $5 off for the month of April). Rivera will have to make room on her mantel somewhere near the Tonys, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and her Kennedy Center Honor.
The triple threat has Boston ties as both an honoree and an honorary member of the Boston Youth Moves Board of Directors. Last year, Rivera performed “Chita Rivera: My Broadway’’ at the Shubert as part of the “Swellegance” benefit for this teen dance program.
So, what’s next for the active octogenarian who recently appeared on Broadway in the new Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”? Well, On Oct. 7 Rivera will be honored at a Broadway concert titled “Chita: A Legendary Celebration” to Benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
And we’re wondering, what would the original Anita from “West Side Story” think of the Jay Leno/Jimmy Fallon parody of “Tonight” from “West Side Story”? A boy like that...and that.