Went to see Chita Rivera in A Dancer’s Life last night. Appropriately, the play is about her life as a dancer. First off, Chita Rivera is 75 years old. She acts with confidence still moves gracefully and sings in full voice. She did a two hour show where she is the only one who talks and does the majority of the singing. She’s has an accident where she shattered a tibia. And, did I mention she’s 75? And stunning? Her body, I’m sure, is in better shape than mine.
So that was the good part. It was very interesting to see her command the stage and keep her energy up from minute one to a curtain call. It was great to hear her sing and dance classic, classic musical numbers.
But, as generally seems to be the case, the book was a let down. It seems there was barely a second of conflict in Ms Rivera’s life. No racial discrimination, no blowouts with ex-husbands, nothing more than a funny joke about not getting Anita in the movie version of West Side story. She grabbed someone’s nose by accident on stage once. A play is very little without conflict. And while its great to see a little song and a little dance after 15 minutes I want more than a little story.
There was one section where she described the choreographers in her life which was a great marriage of story and dance. We learned about the men, their work habits AND then their steps. It was the most effective part of the night.