Metro Weekly

Spotlight: The Signature Show featuring Chita Rivera

The latest episode of Signature's digital series features an interview with the legendary Chita Rivera

chita rivera
Chita Rivera — Photo: Laura Marie Duncan

Last summer, Signature Theatre launched a digital series to celebrate the many artists who play a part in making the Virginia company a preeminent showplace for musical theater.

The latest episode of The Signature Show includes stunning performances, captured from their homes, by vocalist Felicia Boswell accompanied by pianist Mark G. Meadows — a roof-shattering powerhouse riff on “Play The Music for Me” from Jelly’s Last Jam — and vocalist Nora Palka accompanied by percussionist Nathan Ellman-Bell in a timely, moving rendition of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin.”

And then there’s Barrett Wilbert Weed’s enthralling take of “Colored Lights” from The Rink, offered as a coda to an interview with the legendary Chita Rivera led by Matthew Gardiner, Signature’s Associate Artistic Director.

With the two conversing over video from their respective homes, Gardiner asks Rivera to reminisce about everything from her upbringing in D.C. to the various times she worked with the legendary musical-making duo of Kander and Ebb, including starring in the original productions of Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Rink, and The Visit, the latter of which she helped develop through a 2008 production at Signature several years before it went to Broadway.

Another highlight of the latest episode is a sneak peek at Simply Sondheim, the first show of the 2021 season and Signature’s full production since the start of the pandemic. Shot on set at the theater, the show will stream for nearly two months starting Feb. 2.

“When we walked into the space for the first time, and we saw all the lights, and we saw the theater, we all shared a lot of emotions,” says performer Awa Sal Secka.

Donna Migliaccio, one of Secka’s 12 co-stars and Signature’s co-founder, adds, “I can’t wait until we have that last missing piece to the collaborative experience, and that’s a live audience. And that moment can’t come too soon.”

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Doug Rule covers the arts, theater, music, food, nightlife and culture as contributing editor for Metro Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @ruleonwriting.

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