Chita Rivera
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Chita Rivera (birth name: Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero) was born in Washington D.C. on 23rd January, 1933. Her father was Puerto Rican and her mother was of Scottish and Italian descent. In 1944, Rivera’s mother enrolled her in the Jones-Haywood School of Ballet (now the Jones Haywood School of Dance). Later, when she was 15, a teacher from George Balanchine’s School of American Ballet visited their studio and Rivera was one of two students picked to audition in New York City. Rivera’s audition was successful and she was accepted into the school and given a scholarship.
In 1951, Rivera accompanied a friend to the audition for the touring company of Call Me Madam and ended up winning the role herself. She followed this by landing roles in other Broadway productions such as Guys and Dolls and Can-Can. In 1957 she was cast as Anita in West Side Story which made her a Broadway star, (The role would bring fame and an Oscar to another Puerto Rican Rita Moreno, in the 1961 film version). Rivera’s performance was so important for the success of the show that the London production of West Side Story was postponed until after she gave birth to her daughter. She went on to play the role of Nickie in the film adaptation of Sweet Charity with Shirley MacLaine. In 1975 she appeared as Velma Kelly in the original cast of the musical Chicago.
In 1984 she starred in the musical The Rink with Liza Minnelli and won her first Tony award for her role as Anna. In 1986, while performing in the Jerry Herman musical, Jerry’s Girls, Rivera was in a severe accident when her car collided with a taxi in Manhattan. Injuries sustained included the breaking of her left leg in twelve places, requiring eighteen screws and two braces to mend. After rehabilitation, Rivera continued to perform on stage. In addition to her ballet instructors, Rivera credited Leonard Bernstein and Gwen Verdon with whom she starred in Chicago, as being people from whom she learned a great deal.In 2003, Rivera returned to Broadway in the 2003 revival of Nine as Liliane La Fleur, and received her eighth career Tony Award nomination (Best Featured Actress in a Musical) and fourth Drama Desk Award nomination (Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical). As well as numerous TV and film appearances throughout her career she recorded two albums, Chita Rivera: Get Me To The Church On Time and And Now I Sing which were originally recorded in the sixties but will be rereleased in 2013
In 2012, Rivera played Princess Puffer in the new Broadway revival of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. 

Chita Rivera performs “America” – ” All That Jazz”