Update: Rivera’s West End Cabaret Debut CancelledDate: 13 August 2007
UPDATED, Thu 16 Aug 2007 @ 2.30pm: Further information - including a statement from the Producer and Chita Rivera herself - has now been added to this story. Updates are denoted in bold below.
An expanded version of Rivera’s critically acclaimed performance at Feinstein's at the Regency in New York, Chita Sings was due to feature Rivera, accompanied by conductor David Krane, singing songs from her long career, including "America" and "A Boy Like That" from West Side Story; "All That Jazz", "Nowadays" and "Class" from Chicago; and "Big Spender", "Where Am I Going?" and "Something Better Than This" from Sweet Charity. The show was to be hosted each night by US cabaret artist, and show co-producer, Jeff Harnar.
Producer Keith Turnipseed said: "Due to a variety of factors outside our control, we are postponing our production of Chita Sings at Wyndham's Theatre. While this is disappointing, we are planning to bring Chita Rivera back to London, and look forward to rescheduling her appearance in the near future."
Rivera herself later issued a statement via her US publicist and said, “I am very disappointed that my return to the West End in September has been postponed. I want all my fans in the UK to know that this was not my choice and beyond my control. I was so looking forward to returning to London, a city I adore, and I certainly hope that another date can be arranged in the near future. See you soon.”
In a career spanning more than 50 years, Rivera’s Broadway musical highlights include creating the roles of Anita in 1957’s West Side Story (and later reprising her performance in London) and Velma Kelly in 1975’s Chicago. She has won two Tony Awards for Best Actress in a Musical – for Kiss of the Spider Woman (which she performed first in London in 1992) and Kander and Ebb’s The Rink - while her other Broadway credits include Nine, Merlin, Jerry’s Girls, Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, Mr Wonderful, Seventh Heaven and, most recently, her autobiographical The Dancer’s Life.
Rivera’s other stage credits include Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Can-Can and Zorba. On screen, she appeared with Shirley MacLaine in Kander and Ebb’s Sweet Charity and had a cameo appearance in the recent adaptation of Chicago. She last appeared in the West End in 1999 when she took on the role of fellow murderess Roxie Hart in the current stage revival of the Kander and Ebb classic (See News, 12 Jul 1999).
Chita Sings was meant to launch The American Songbook in London, a semi-regular season of cabaret held at different venues but under the same banner and produced by Americans Keith Turnipseed and Jeff Harnar, who've both previously mounted shows here at the Off-West End Jermyn Street Theatre. Turnipseed says "We are excited about the planning now underway to bring a series of cabaret productions to the West End in 2008."
This past weekend at Wyndham’s Theatre, Alan Strachan’s revival of Somerset Maugham’s 1927 play The Letter, starring Jenny Seagrove and Anthony Andrews, finished its limited season. Further ahead this autumn, as reported earlier (Today’s Other News), Shadowlands, starring Charles Dance and Janie Dee, will have a limited season from 3 October to 15 December, after which the National Theatre’s multi award-winning production of Alan Bennett’s play The History Boys will return from 20 December (See News, 9 Aug 2007).
- by Terri Paddock