Chita Rivera is an American actress, singer, and dancer best known for playing Anita in West Side Story, Velma Kelly in Chicago, and the lead character in Kiss of the Spider Woman on Broadway.
She has been nominated for eleven Tony Awards and has won three of them, including one for Lifetime Achievement.
She is the first Latina and Latino American to be awarded the Kennedy Center Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Her autobiography, Chita: A Memoir, was published in 2023.
Chita Rivera’s Net Worth
Chita Rivera has a net worth of $2 million as of 2023. According to some estimates, the average weekly income for a Broadway performer in the 1950s was roughly $500, which amounts to around $5,000 today. It wasn’t until Chita Rivera’s breakout role as Anita in “West Side Story” that she started making more money.
According to sources, the actors in the original Broadway production of “West Side Story” were paid weekly $160, significantly above what actors spent in the 1950s.
While this may not seem like much money by today’s standards, it was a substantial sum at the time.
Broadway artists today can make between $1,500 and $3,000 per week, depending on the scale of the play and the performer’s skill, according to some estimates.
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Chita Rivera Career
Rivera attended an audition for the traveling production Call Me Madam, starring Elaine Stritch, with a friend and was hired.
She went on to perform in various Broadway shows, including Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Mr. Wonderful, and Seventh Heaven, as well as dance on The Maurice Chevalier Special in 1956. She rose to notoriety on Broadway after being hired as the fiery Anita in West Side Story in 1957.
Rivera was nominated for a Tony Award in 1960 for her performance as Rose in Bye Bye Birdie, alongside Dick Van Dyke.
She appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show three times and received great acclaim for her Broadway and London performances with Peter Marshall, but she was passed over for the film version, which Janet Leigh played.
Rivera appeared as Zenda alongside Alfred Drake on The Judy Garland Show in 1963. Rivera returned to Broadway in 1964 in Bajour then to television in The Outer Limits after the Broadway-bound musical Bajour closed.
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