Chita Rivera and a few other luminaries were awarded the Medal of Freedom this week. I thought, in honor of her getting a new piece of jewelry, I'd re-post this drawing from a few years back.
I got to draw Ms. Rivera during the final weekend of the Broadway run of her show, A Dancer's Life. Prints of the drawing were given as Closing Night presents from one of the producers to the cast.
Earlier this year, my path crossed Ms. Rivera's again, backstage at the Theatre Guild Benefit. She was holding a paper plate from the make-shift catering table and talking to the drag queens and showgirls in the dining hall we were using as a green-room below the Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center.
There's something truly special about watching the mundane world of backstage chatter when it features a living legend. Yesterday at the gym, when I looked up at the television and saw the President of the United States tying the Medal of Freedom around Chita Rivera's neck, I flashed back to the woman sitting on a fold-up chair and smiling, turning her head to greet another well wisher, a grand dame of theater, still waiting for her cue, perpetually ready to get on stage and hoof it.