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Broadway mourns loss of triple-threat icon Chita Rivera at 91

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Renowned Broadway star Chita Rivera, celebrated for her exceptional career as a singer, actress, and dancer, passed away at the age of 91 after a brief illness. Known for her kindness and breaking barriers for Latinos in the industry, Rivera’s impact on the theater community is remembered with gratitude and reverence.

Rivera’s co-author, Patrick Pacheco, reflects on her genuine nature, emphasizing how she treated everyone as if they were the most important person in the world. Pacheco, who co-wrote Rivera’s 2023 memoir, “Chita, A Memoir,” highlights her determination to break down doors and create opportunities, shaping a legacy that extends beyond her performances.

The Broadway luminary, with three Tony Awards and 10 nominations, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from former President Barack Obama, a testament to her significant contributions to the arts. Theater-goers, like Pearce O’Brian, express their admiration for Rivera’s immense talent and the impact she had on live theater.

During a Tuesday night showing of “Chicago the Musical,” where Rivera starred and originated the role of Velma Kelly, the theater community came together to pay tribute to the late icon. O’Brian notes the importance of such gatherings, emphasizing the enduring appeal of live theater.

Amra-Faye Wright, who succeeded Rivera in the role of Velma Kelly for over two decades, describes the bittersweet emotions of performing in the iconic role. The entire cast dedicated their performance to Rivera, recognizing her profound influence on the production and the art form as a whole.

As Broadway mourns the loss of a true triple-threat talent, Chita Rivera’s legacy lives on through her groundbreaking contributions and the impact she had on the hearts of those who were fortunate enough to witness her performances.

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