Chita Rivera: My Broadway – Adelaide Cabaret Festival 2011

Presented by the Adelaide Festival Centre and the Adelaide Cabaret Festival
Reviewed Saturday 11th June 2011

Venue: Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season: 6:30pm Friday 17th, 3pm and 7:15pm Saturday 18th June 2011
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: Premium $55/adult $45/conc $41
Bookings: BASS 131 241 or

When Chita Rivera calls a show My Broadway, she has every right to do so. With over half a century of Broadway performances to her credit it is not boasting, it is simply stating a fact. Chita Rivera is a star in the fullest meaning of that term, and she was a star when that word really meant something. In this performance she demonstrates clearly, exactly what being a real star means.

From the moment that she walks on stage, through to the last farewell wave to the audience that is giving her a standing ovation with massive applause and cheering, she commands the stage. This is the woman that created just about every role that aspiring female musical theatre performers today want to play. She was the first Anita in West Side Story, the first Thelma in Chicago and the list goes on and on. She has had songs and roles written especially for her by the great names in musical theatre, from Leonard Bernstein to Kander and Ebb, and she has been choreographed by Bob Fosse. There is nothing that she hasn’t done.

At 78 she proves that she can still do it all. Just walking onto the stage it is clear that she is a dancer as there is a particular style to her every move that only great dancers have. Her beaming smile captures the hearts of the audience before she even sings a note and her effervescent personality endears her to everybody.

Then there are the songs, backed by a couple of her own musicians and some great Adelaide players. There were the well-known tunes, such as America, Big Spender and All That Jazz, as well as some for lesser known musicals such as The Rink and Kiss of the Spider Woman. One song followed another in a packed 75 minutes of superb entertainment, from big belting numbers to gentle ballads and, from the musical Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris, his famous cabaret song, Carousel.

This was definitely a major highlight for me in the Cabaret Festival so far. There are still a few more chances to catch this amazing lady, so hurry to get a ticket if you can.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.

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