Bebe Neuwirth Hosts First Annual Chita Rivera Awards, Honoring Dance/Dancers, September 11
By: Ellis Nassour
The first Chita Rivera Awards, which will annually honor dance and dancers, named, of course, in honor of the beloved Broadway gypsy who segued to Tony-winning star, will be presented Monday, September 11 at 7:30 P.M. at the Hirschfeld Theatre with an all-star line-up of performers and presenters.
Hosting will be two-time Tony nominee, singer/dancer Bebe Neuwirth [a two-time Emmy winner (Cheers); as well as co-star of the CBS’ Madam Secretary]. Four-time Tony nominee Randy Skinner is director.
Theater and dance legend and multiple Tony winner Tommy Tune will be presented with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award. Tony winning director Diane Paulus will receive the Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theater Award.
Real estate developer, gallery owner, and producer Antonio Vendome will receive the Outstanding Contribution to the Arts and Humanities Award.
The Clive Barnes Foundation [honoring late New York Times dance/theater critic] will receive the Douglas Watt Award for Editorial Excellence in Dance and Musical Theater [honoring late New York Daily News theater critic].
Event director, four -time Tony-nominee Randy Skinner says, “Working on this inaugural Chita Rivera Awards and creating an event that celebrates dance and choreography has been an incredible honor. It will be an evening for and about dancers and the people who create dance. Everyone will feel the energy that happens when a group of dancers gather to do the thing they love best!”
He’s extremely proud that “my old friend” Tommy Tune will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. “How great that Tommy and Chita, extraordinary in so many ways, are getting ready to share the stage in their new show,” he pointed out.
Performers will include Tony nominee Robert Fairchild (An American in Paris) and Melanie Moore (Hello, Dolly!’s Ermengarde) dancing a duet from the Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning film La La Land (choreography by multiple Emmy nominee Mandy Moore, Dancing with the Stars); and cast members from A Bronx Tale, 2017 Tony-nominated Best Musical Come From Away, and the recent Off-Broadway revival of Sweet Charity.
In addition, there’ll be performances by the New York City Ballet honoring Rivera; ADM21 and guest Tony nominee Tony Yazbeck (co-starring in Prince of Broadway ) performing the classic “We’ll Take a Glass Together,” from 1989 Best Musical nominee Grand Hotel, to honor Tune (who won Tonys for the show’s choreography and direction); and Fosse’s “Manson Trio” from Pippin [oddly inspired by the legendary director/choreographer’s interest in Charles Manson] to honor Paulus.
Presenters will include Carmen De Lavallade, Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Melissa Errico, Nikki M. James, Baayork Lee, Priscilla Lopez, Donna McKechnie, Pam McKinnon, Chris Noth, David Hyde Pierce, Lee Roy Reams, Yazbeck, Jerry Zaks, and, among others, Karen Ziemba.
The mission of the Chita Rivera Awards is “to celebrate dance and choreographic excellence; and to continue that vision by celebrating the superb achievement of each nominee and the immeasurable talents and passion of every theatrical choreographer and dancer.”
Nominators considered 2016-2017 season outstanding choreography, featured dancers, and ensembles in shows on Broadway and Off-Broadway, as well as, outstanding choreography in film. Nominations were determined by designated nominating committees [Broadway, Off Broadway, and Film].
The Chita Rivera Awards are produced by ADM21 (founder and producing artistic director, Nikki Feirt Atkins) in association with Patricia Watt. Tickets are $100 for the Awards show and $500 for show and post-awards VIP party. Premium packages (show and party table for 10) are $5,000. To purchase, visit www.ChitaRiveraAwards.com.