Fans of Great Performances’ presentation of Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do on November 6 can follow up the broadcast with a live performance in New York City. This week Café Carlyle and Chita Rivera announced the Broadway legend’s two-week cabaret engagement, January 12-23, 2016. Rivera — a triple-threat singer, actor and dancer — has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in a Musical and earned eight additional Tony nominations.
Café Carlyle, a quintessential supper club within the luxury Carlyle Hotel that pairs music with fine dining, dates to 1955 — two years after Rivera’s star-making role as Anita in Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story. To see Rivera perform here will be a close-up experience: the intimate setting with table lamps and music-themed wall murals by Marcel Vertès seats just 88 guests.
We don’t know the song list for her program, but it’s certain to include at least a few favorites from her latest solo album And Now I Swing and her extensive musical repertory — and perhaps a few numbers seen in Great Performance’s tribute special?
In 2015 Rivera was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical as Claire Zachanassian in Kander and Ebb’s The Visit (it closed in June). Rivera’s other famous roles come from Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony Award), Chicago, Jerry’s Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award). She began her career in the original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr. Wonderful.
The storied history of Café Carlyle includes many iconic entertainers. Pianist and singer Bobby Short performed at Café Carlyle for 35 years (1968 – 2004) and Woody Allen and the Eddy Davis New Orleans Jazz Band have had a standing Monday evening engagement since the late 1990s. Other notable artists who have performed cabaret evenings at the cafe include Sutton Foster and Judy Collins. The schedule for Chita Rivera’s dates can be found on the Café Carlyle events page.
Chita Rivera: A Lot of Livin’ to Do airs on Great Performances November 6 at 9/8c on PBS (check local listings).