Cover girl. The great Chita Rivera.

Dance · Theater
Chita Rivera, DANCE Magazine Nov 1957 West Side Story opened on Broadway in September 1957. By November, DANCE Magazine had a new cover girl.

Chita & ‘chicas’: WSS’s original ‘America’ dance crew 1

Dance · Theater
Chita Rivera out front. Behind, L to R: Carmen Gutierrez, Lynn Ross, Liane Plane (unseen behind Chita), Frances Taylor “Chita was so incredible as Anita,” our friend George Chakiris told the audience when I interviewed him in 2015. He played “Riff” in the London production of West Side Story circa 1958/59. Doing that meant keeping ...

David Winters ‘Cool’ solo, in ‘West Side Story’

Dance · Film · Theater
Jets boys, David Winters at center in red In an interview with Toni Basil that includes rare footage of the original Broadway cast of West Side Story, Jerome Robbins protege David Winters (1939 – 2019) explains how he conjured his unusual solo in the role of “Baby John” in 1957. When it came time for ...

Review: ‘West Side’ Video

Dance · Reviews · Theater
Shereen Pimentel, Isaac Powell and cast. photo: Jan Versweyveld Broadway’s current revival of West Side Story—the groundbreaking 1957 musical by Jerome Robbins, Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, and Stephen Sondheim whose dramatic power has long been associated with kinetic energy and eloquently focused movement opens simply. The Jets saunter to the front of the vast, bare ...

Jets ‘do the hustle’

Dance · Film
The filmmakers behind the re-do of WEST SIDE STORY (1961) did not win a lot of internet love upon the release of a production still of Steven Spielberg’s redux filming of Jerome Robbins/Robert Wise’s iconic WSS “Prologue,” with menacing gang members dance-trawling the streets of Manhattan. It’s hard to give fewer points for either the ...

Rita Moreno, Ph.D.

Film · Theater
She’s won two Emmys, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony, the so-called “EGOT.” Now she’ll adding missing letters to her alphabet soup of honors, when Rita Moreno receives a Ph.D. from The Juilliard School. She’s great with accents and has a distinctive voice, but even Moreno may struggle with this one: EGOTPhD. Moreno was ...

‘Cher’-ing West Side Story 2

I like her as George Chakiris. Others prefer her as Rita Moreno. (Hey, different strokes for different folks.) She also plays Russ Tamblyn and Natalie Wood. In this gender-bending, cross-dressing, stage-hogging, scene-stealing, performance-arting, one-woman show-ing, television tour-de-force, Cher does it all. Never a shrinking violet, she bursts forth as Tony/Maria/Bernardo/Anita in a West Side Story ...

Jerry’s kids, and grandkids, revel in ‘Jerome Robbins’ Broadway’

Dance · Theater
“Jerome Robbins’ Broadway 30th Anniversary Celebration,” a lovingly assembled, heartfelt 90-minute program presented in the Guggenheim Museum’s “Works & Process” series, was several events bundled into one. It was a loving coda to the Jerome Robbins Centennial; an enthusiastic alumni reunion; and a celebration of a landmark Broadway production exactly 30 years after its opening ...

Leaping Jerry Robbins 1

His birthday is over so it is back to business. To admire the work of Jerome Robbins (he is currently being deified, similar to Balanchine) is to stumble upon his borrowings, and lack of crediting of others. This is so sensitive — and it’s a difficult-to-discern thin line of how the artistic process happens. Again ...

Georgeous & Rita-licious

Dance · Fashion · Film
As Oscar Sunday approaches, we turn to the year when two beautiful young singer/dancers both won Academy Awards for West Side Story. George Chakiris and Rita Moreno, respective winners for Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role, appeared stunningly beautiful at the ceremony  April 9, 1962 at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This is ...