Rivera to Receive “Woman of Valor Award” from Victory Dance Project

It’s a special Victory for Chita Rivera

The 84-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer will be honored by the New York-based Victory Dance Project at its third anniversary celebration.

Chita Rivera

Rivera, a Broadway legend, will be presented with the company’s Woman of Valor Award at the celebration at the Manhattan Movement & Arts Center on June 15.

The award honors “a woman whose artistic excellence, advocacy, and legacy represents the highest level of integrity and artistic vision.”

The event, themed From This Movement On, will also include a world premiere piece choreographed by the company’s artistic director Amy Jordan, as well as pieces from the company’s repertoire.

Jordan and Rivera share a similar experience. Victory Dance Project was founded in 2014 by Jordan after she survived a bus accident that nearly claimed her life. She says she resolved that if she survived, she would do a “victory dance” to celebrate, and launched VDP Project with the mission to “Make the Impossible Possible with the Power of Movement.”

Rivera survived a 1986 Manhattan car accident that shattered her left leg. After therapy, she returned to the stage, winning the 1993 Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her performance in Kiss of the Spider-Woman. She had previously won a Tony for her performance in The Rink.

Her additional credits include the original Broadway productions of Guys and Dolls, West Side Story, Bye Bye Birdie, Can-Can, Chicago, Merlin, The Visit and her autobiographical musical, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life.

“We are thrilled to be honoring the amazing Chita Rivera with Victory Dance Project’s Woman of Valor Award. I can’t think of a more apt recipient—Her incredible talent, spirit and strength inspire us on so many levels—she is truly a woman of valor,” said Jordan in an interview with Playbill.

Lopez to Star in NBC’s Live Television Adaptation of the Hit Broadway Musical “Bye Bye Birdie”

Everything’s coming up Rosie for Jennifer Lopez

NBC has slated Bye Bye Birdie as its next live musical, with the 46-year-old Puerto Rican actress/singer set as the star.

Jennifer Lopez

Lopez will executive produce with Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Benny Medina, Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, and her company Nuyorican Productions will produce with Universal Television.

Harvey Fierstein will write the television adaptation, with the special set to air in 2017.

The original Broadway production of Bye Bye Birdie won the Tony Award in 1961 for best musical. It starred Dick Van Dyke, who also won a Tony for best actor in a musical, as Albert Peterson, the manager of rock star Conrad Birdie, and Chita Rivera as Rosie Alvarez, Albert’s girlfriend and secretary. When Birdie is drafted into the Army, Albert and Rosie concoct a plan to have Birdie give “one last kiss” to a small-town high school girl live on The Ed Sullivan Show before heading off for induction.

The show was adapted into a 1963 feature film starring Van Dyke and Janet Leigh. A short-lived 2010 Broadway revival starred John Stamos and Gina Gershon.

Lopez, who stars in NBC’s Shades of Blue, will play the part of Rosie in the NBC version. No other casting has yet been announced.

Under Greenblatt, NBC has made a tradition of airing live musicals in December, where the network believes the holiday time is a fertile ground for family-friendly co-viewing. The first, Sound of Music Live! starring Carrie Underwood, aired in 2013 and was watched by 18.6 million viewers. That effort was followed by Peter Pan Live! starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken, and The Wiz Live! starring Queen Latifah and Shanice Williams.

Zadan and Meron have served as exec producers on all four NBC live musicals, and Fierstein previously wrote the television adaptation for The Wiz Live! and wrote the adaptation for NBC’s upcoming Hairspray Live!, which will air on December 7.