I was supposed to see Chita Rivera perform tonight, but a blizzard stranded her band in New York so she’s not performing tonight even though she’s already here in town.
I feel sorry for Viterbo, where she was to perform, and for the people holding tickets to this special night of theater.
But I am luckier than most of those ticket holders because I got to see Chita Rivera on Broadway.
It was 1984 and the show was Kander and Ebb’s “The Rink.”
I admit I was going mostly to see Liza Minnelli. Even though Minnelli wasn’t a particular favorite of mine, she seemed like someone I should see if I got the chance simply because of her star power — kind of like seeing Tina Turner, Prince,The Rolling Stones or The Beatles if that opportunity came my way. (Two out of four isn’t bad — I did see Tina and the Stones.)
I still feel I haven’t seen Liza Minnelli even though I was sitting fifth row center. Liza’s performance was so lackluster that I could barely hear her.
There’s a good reason for that. Liza went into rehab a week after I saw her in “The Rink.”
But Chita was a blast of fabulousness and it’s no surprise she won the Tony that year, even though she was up against her co-star and some pretty impressive competition that included Bernadette Peters.
I don’t know what she would have been like in a one-woman show at the age of 80, but I’m guessing I would have had no trouble hearing her.
I wish her good luck on the rest of her tour. Now I’m going to go watch videos of her on YouTube.