Broadway Star Chita Rivera

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Chita Rivera, during an interview in New York, on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009. (AP)
Chita Rivera, during an interview in New York, on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009. (AP)

Broadway legend Chita Rivera is as big and enduring a star as they come on the Great White Way.

At a time when performers like Michael Jackson and Patrick Swayze have blinked out tragically young, Rivera is a near miracle of the show going on.

She was there in the original “West Side Story,” a real-life Puerto Rican daughter breaking ground in the 1950s. She was there in the original “Chicago” with “All That Jazz.” In "Bye Bye Birdie" and "Kiss of the Spider Woman." And she’s there today.

She started life as “Conchita.” At 76, she’s a Presidential Medal of Freedom winner.

This hour, On Point: Broadway great, Chita Rivera.

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From New York City, we're joined by Chita Rivera. Best-known for her roles in “West Side Story,” “Chicago,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” she's a two-time Tony Award winner for best actress in a musical, and has been nominated for nine Tonys in total. President Barack Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom on August 12, and she was the first Hispanic ever to win the Kennedy Center Award in 2002. She recently starred in the Broadway and touring productions of “Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life," and she will begin touring in January with her concert “Chita Rivera: My Broadway." Her new solo studio album, “And Now I Swing,” will be released next month.

Watch clips from the recent production "Chita Rivera: The Dancer's Life":

This program aired on September 15, 2009.


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