cover image Chita: A Memoir

Chita: A Memoir

Chita Rivera with Patrick Pacheco. HarperOne, $27.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-322679-1

In this entertaining debut, actor/dancer Rivera provides a lively backstage glimpse of her seven-decade career. As an outlet for her childhood rambunctiousness, Rivera’s mother enrolled her in ballet classes. She subsequently trained at the School of American Ballet, and though she always thought of herself as “more of a dancer than a Broadway musical star,” Rivera was cast as the original Anita in West Side Story in 1957, and went on to perform in numerous productions, including Bye-Bye Birdie, Chicago, Mr. Wonderful, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and The Visit. “I do miss that girl, full of energy, agility, optimism, and hope,” Rivera reminisces, and describes her attempts to hold onto her through milestones including her three Tony wins and receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Rivera fondly recounts her memories with a touch of humor and a hint of the fire that characterizes the many roles she has portrayed on stage and screen; references to her less restrained alter ego “Dolores” (or as her daughter would say: “Mom goes Puerto Rican”) are particularly charming. This deserves a standing ovation. Agent: Mel Berger, WME. (Apr.)