Broadway's top stars are coming together for the inaugural year of the Chita Rivera Awards on September 11. The host of the evening will be the fabulous Bebe Neuwirth, and Tommy Tune will receive a lifetime achievement award. Director Diane Paulus will be honored, and Robert Fairchild will perform.
In its previous incarnation as the Astaire Awards, the event has celebrated dozens of outstanding dancers and choreographers in Broadway musicals. Last year, because it was such a fertile season for musicals, the Awards honored three choreographers: Andy Blankenbuehler, Savion Glover and Sergio Trujillo. What will happen this year? (Being a member of the Awards committee, I'm sworn to secrecy.) Click here to see a complete list of nominees.
With Neuwirth as emcee, everyone is sure to have a great time. She's glam and witty and not averse to throwing in a pelvic swirl or two. And she's thrilled to be joining Rivera onstage—she gushed with praise for the legend in a phone interview:
"She is the pinnacle of what a person wants to achieve in their pursuit of art. She combines brilliant technique with deep and truthful emotional endowment and genius story telling. And beyond that…she's Chita Rivera! She's got something beyond stage presence and stage craft. Watching her perform, I always feel she's the physical embodiment of enlightenment. The purity of her joy and sincerity, with all the qualities I mentioned before, translates to a transcendent experience."
Rivera, now in her seventh decade of performing, is not slowing down. Right after the Awards, she pairs up with Tommy Tune for a traveling duo called "Chita + Tune: Just in Time."
To buy tickets for the Chita Rivera Awards, click here.