Posts Tagged ‘shaw theatre’

Chita Rivera at the Shaw Theater (London) – Ars Longa, Chita Brevis

February 10, 2008

Well, going to see Chita Rivera with the West End Whingers last night was really quite fun. I had a nice buzz going from all of the wine I had before the show and, as she talked about the passage of the years, I could practically feel them blowing by me. Unfortunately I don’t really have a grasp on the early part of her career (as I didn’t make it through West Side Story – the copy we rented was so horrible we gave up after about half an hour) so I didn’t really get the buzz from hearing her talk about and sing the songs of those, er, decades (hard to believe that someone like her would do a touring Sweet Charity back in the day – did they actually once have quality actors do tours instead of hacks?).

But she sang SO many songs from shows I’d never heard of (The Rink? Phil called it the one with the rollerskating dogs, but it was just a dog with rollerskates from the description she gave) that I felt like she represented the tip of a huge iceberg of music I’d only ever experienced a fraction of. So much more wonderful music out there for me to learn! And watching her dance, I though, how strange it was to see this – she represented a physical memory that just couldn’t be recreated other than in her body. So much of the stuff she’s done and been in is just gone, and yet, as she started singing, “Big Spender,” I felt she could hear the words and the movement as a whole within her – a piano ker-slap (thump PIVOT), “I could tell …” (thrust ripple) “at the time …” – and so MANY of these things were buried in her, she was a veritable altar of musical theater and should be being carefully mined for all of her knowledge n an expedited basis.

Oh, but to see her sing, “Nowadays …” just an echo of the old days with Gwen Verdon, but so lovely … all of those years rising up in front of us, and all is heaven and I had to fight not to sing along. Aaaah. And then there was more wine and catty comments exchanged between old friends and talking about the rise and fall of musical theater (in England and the US) and how the dogs got rollerskates. Truly a great night out! (And hopefully soon I’ll review Friday’s outing to the Carlo Rossa Company’s Mikado, but with a six day work week, I’m a bit short on free time.)

(This review is for a show that took place Saturday, February 9th, 2008.)

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