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Broadway Welcomes Back Tony Award Winner Chita Rivera in 'The Visit' (VIDEO)

First Posted: Apr 01, 2015 04:01 PM EDT
Tony Award winner Chita Rivera

Tony Award winner Chita Rivera (Photo : Chita Rivera/Facebook)

Broadway's celebrated gem and Tony Award winner, Chita Rivera is returning to the stage in "The Visit."

The actress, singer and dancer, who was the first Hispanic woman and the first Latino American to receive a Kennedy Center Honors award in 2002 as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009, is no stranger to this treasured Broadway musical. 

"I've done this musical 14 years. First in Chicago, and we went on following 9/11. It's heavy doing it without those creators, who are gone," she said in an earlier interview. "But I had faith in it, and my belief is things take their own time. Now I'm back on the horse."

Is the show different this time around?

"The show has changed a little. Now one act, not two. Same book. Different staging. But the components fell in place," she explained. "Its European love story is politically right."

"It's about love, mostly. And its about love, then, now...and forever," she added.

Rivera, whose birth name is Dolores Conchita Figueroa del Rivero, is of Puerto Rican and Scottish and Italian descent.

"'The Visit,' tells the story of Claire Zachanassian , the oft-widowed richest woman in the world. She returns to the hardship-stricken town of her birth, where the locals pray that her wealth will bring them a new lease on life, but the carefully plotted renewal she offers carries a dreadful price. The show is based on the 1956 play by Friedrich Dürrenmatt and features a book by Terrence McNally."

Directed by Tony Award winner John Doyle, the cast is led by Tony winners Rivera and Roger Rees, Jason Danieley, Matthew Deming, Diana Dimarzio, David Garrison, Rick Holmes, Tom Nelis, Chris Newcomer, Aaron Ramey, Timothy Shew, Michelle Veintimilla, George Abud, Mary Beth Peil, Elena Shaddow, and John Riddle. 

"'The Visit' marks the historic final collaboration between the creators of the Tony award-winning masterwork 'Kiss of the Spider Woman,'" according to the show's official website. "John Kander and Fred Ebb, the Tony, Emmy and Grammy Award-winning songwriters behind some of the most iconic musicals of the past 50 years, including 'Chicago and Cabaret,' collaborate once more with four-time Tony Award winner Terrence McNally ('Master Class,' 'Ragtime,' 'Kiss of the Spider Woman').

The musical is also choreographed by Tony Award nominee Graciela Daniele. 

While she still has her impressive skills and gusto, Rivera, 82, admits that she now has to know her limits.

"Listen, I'm not the woman I was 14 years ago. Loving this so much, I think sometimes I am. But I'm not," she said. "So I've learned to protect myself. Rest is important. No running around. No screwing up. I've got lots of energy. I take vacation time. This is a great show, and I want back in it again."

"The Visit" kicked off its previews on March 26 and opens on April 23 at the Lyceum Theatre.

Listen to "The Visit's" cast and team discuss "the Broadway event of a lifetime."

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