The long-awaited and wildly entertaining memoir of the star of stage and screen, the legendary Chita Rivera—three-time Tony Award–winner, Kennedy Centers honoree, and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
She was born Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero—until the entertainment world renamed her. But Dolores—the irreverent side of the sensual, dark and ferocious Chita—was always present center stage, and was influential in creating some of Broadway most iconic and acclaimed roles, including Anita in West Side Story‚ the part that made her a star—Rosie in Bye Bye, Birdie, Velma in Chicago, and Aurora in Kiss of the Spider Woman.
Written in gratitude to her longstanding fans and with the hope that new generations may learn from her extraordinary experience, Chita takes us behind the curtain to reveal the highs and lows of one extraordinary showbusiness career—the creative fermentation, the ego clashes, the miraculous discoveries, the exhilaration when it all went right, and the disappointment when it all went wrong. Chita invites us into workrooms and rehearsal studies, on stage and on set as she works with some of the greatest talents of the age, including Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim, Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins, Hal Prince, Liza Minnelli, Sammy Davis Jr, Gwen Verdon, Shirley MacLaine, and many others. We also learn deeply moving, revelatory details about her upbringing and her heritage, and how they indelibly shaped her work and career.
This colorful and entertaining memoir—as vital and captivating as Chita herself—is the unforgettable and engrossing personal story of a performer who blazed her own trail and inspired countless performers to forge their own unique path to success.
Chita Rivera is universally regarded as one of Broadway’s most accomplished and versatile performers. She was the first Hispanic woman and the first Latino American to receive the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors award and also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. She is a ten-time Tony nominee and three-time Tony winner, including two Tonys for Best Leading Actress in a Musical and a Lifetime Achievement Award. She appeared on Broadway in her own show, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, and among her many celebrated stage credits are West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, Chicago, The Rink, Nine, Kiss of the Spider Woman, and Zorba. She also played Nickie in the film version of Sweet Charity, alongside Shirley MacLaine. Chita Rivera lives in New York City.
Patrick Pacheco is an Emmy Award-winning television commentator and arts journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other publications. Formerly with Ny1 On Stage, he now hosts the interview program Theater, All the Moving Parts on CUNY-TV. He has written for film, television, and the stage both in the United States and abroad, and is the author and editor of the bestselling American Theater Wing, An Oral History: 100 Years, 100 Voices, 100 Million Miracles. He lives in New York City.
“Chita Rivera blazed a trail where none existed so the rest of us could see a path forward. She has been part of some of the greatest musicals in the history of the form, from Anita in the trailblazing West Side Story through Claire Zachanassian in the underrated masterpiece The Visit, over 60 years later. She is a Puerto Rican Broadway icon and the original ‘triple threat.’ We’re so lucky to be alive in the same timeline as Chita Rivera." — Lin-Manuel Miranda
"A frank and fascinating memoir from one of the truly great artists of the American Theater. Lots of stories … Lots of insight … and quite a few caustic statements from Chita’s alter ego, Dolores. An illuminating history and a guaranteed pleasure!" — John Kander
"This deserves a standing ovation." — Publishers Weekly
"Chita’s magnificent memoir literally danced off the page and into my heart with her signature style, wit, humor, warmth, and humility. It was as if she was giving me a personal glimpse into the golden years of show biz and beyond. It’s filled with Chita’s loves, laughs, losses, and all that jazz. If it’s possible—it made me love her even more than I already do!" — Rob Marshall
"Fans of musical theater and dance are in for a real treat." — Kirkus Reviews
"An enjoyable and inspiring inside look at a life in the theater." — Library Journal