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Chita Rivera, almost 80, can't sit still

Associated Press Modified: November 23, 2012 at 8:01 am •  Published: November 23, 2012

"The lesson I got from this is: generator," she says.

The Associated Press sat down with Rivera to talk about the show, her birthday and if heat really rises.


AP: Everyone in the cast seems to be having so much fun onstage. Are you really?

Rivera: Oh, we are. We really are. But I believe there's a danger. Timing is everything. Shape and form is everything. The word is everything. And there has got to be control. When you give a bunch of actors that kind of freedom, you've got to look at that, because it's starting to stretch a little bit already. There is a freedom that's delicious, but there's also a danger.

AP: Is it strange performing in a show where the ending is up in the air?

Rivera: I love the fact that the audience is involved, even though I'm from the old school — I do like having a beginning, a middle and an end. You know what you're doing. In this, when I get offstage and they tell me I'm the murderer, I have to quickly go over the lines again. And that means I'm not the lover since nobody can be the lover if you're the murderer.

AP: How did you fare with no electricity after Sandy?

Rivera: It was so cold and terribly dark. We tried it for a few days. And I moved around from bedroom to bedroom to see if heat really does rise and how long it stays.

AP: And the answer?

Rivera: It's cold.

AP: You've been touring for these past few years. How has the theater scene changed?

Rivera: I don't think we have enough original musicals. I really don't. I know I'm being old fashioned but the theater is the place where music, lyrics, words, scenery and stories come together. And I've been blessed enough to have done several shows when they really did. They take you places and they're daring. That's what we need.

AP: You are approaching a rather important birthday. How does that feel?

Rivera: Age just seems, to me, ridiculous, because I'm blessed. I'm lucky. I'm doing what I love to do. I still can. And I have the sense to know what I can't do and what I should do.




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