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Photographs by: Christopher Duggan
The first annual Chita Rivera Awards, named in honor of 10-time Tony nominee and two-time winner Chita Rivera, who rose from the gypsy ensemble to stardom and one of theater’s most loved personalties, celebrated dance and choreographic excellence. They were hosted by Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth at the Hirschfeld Theatre.
Tommy Tune was presented with the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award; Diane Paulus with the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theater as Director; and entrepreneur Antonio Vendome with the award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts and Humanity.
Among theater notables making appearances were tony nominee Melissa Errico, Nikki M. James, Tony honoree Baayork Lee, veteran dancer Carmen de Lavaliade, Tony nominee Robert Fairchild, Tony winner and A Chorus Line nominee Priscilla Lopez, Tony winner Donna McKechnie, Chris Noth, Tony honoree and two-time nominee David Hyde Pierce, Tony nominee Lee Roy Reams, Tony nominee Sergio Trujillo, Tony-nominee Tony Yazback, four-time Tony winner Jerry Zaks, and four-time Tony nominee and Tony winner Karen Ziemba.
There were dance tributes to Rivera from the New York City Ballet, performing “America” from 1957’s West Side Story, her third original Broadway role and the one that first put her on the map, as the fiery Anita; American Dance Machine for the 21st Centrury; the Teen Company; and performances by the casts of A Bronx Tale, Tony-nominated Come from Away, and the recent Sweet Charity revival.
Nominators considered outstanding choreography, featured dancers and ensemble in shows on Broadway and Off Broadway, as well as, outstanding choreography in film, that opened in the 2016-2017 season. Nominations were determined by the designated nominating committees.
The Chitas were directed by four-time Tony- nominee Randy Skinner and produced by American Dance Machine for the 21st Century (ADM21), producing artistic director, Nikki Feirt Atkins, in association with Patricia Watt. For more information, visit www.ChitaRiveraAwards.com.
Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show * Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand Josh Bergasse, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Warren Carlyle, Hello Dolly! Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day Kelly Devine, Come from Away Denis Jones, Holiday Inn Sergio Trujillo, A Bronx Tale
Ensemble, Broadway Show A Bronx Tale Bandstand Cats Come from Away Hello Dolly! Holiday Inn * Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812
Male Dancer, Broadway Show * Corbin Bleu, Holiday Inn John Bolton, Anastasia Max Clayton, Bandstand Tyler Hanes, Cats Ryan Kasprzak, Bandstand Ricky Ubeda, Cats
Female Dancer, Broadway Show Andrea Dotto, Bandstand Lora Lee Gayer, Holiday Inn Eloise Kropp, Cats Georgina Pazcoguin, Cats Emma Pfaeffle, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory * Megan Sikora, Holiday Inn Christine Cornish Smith, Cats Jaime Verazin, Bandstand
Choreography, Off-Broadway Show * Joshua Bergasse, Sweet Charity David Dorfman, Indecent Merete Muenter, The Golden Bride David Neumann, The Total Bent Misha Shields, Baghdaddy
Female Dancer, Off-Broadway Show Yesenia Ayala, Sweet Charity Asmeret Ghebremichael, Sweet Charity Nikka Graff Lanzarone, Sweet Charity Emily Padgett, Sweet Charity * Lyrica Woodruff, Finian's Rainbow
Male Dancer, Off-Broadway Show Ato Blankson-Wood, The Total Bent * Brandon Espinoza, Baghdaddy Curtis Wiley, The Total Bent Cody Williams, Sweet Charity Blake Zolfo, Kid Victory
TheatricalAnthony Van Laast, Beauty and the BeastMandy Moore, La La Land * Javier de Frutos, London RoadDanielle Flora, Tian Wang, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
DocumentarySusan Glatzer, director, Alive and KickingSteven Cantor, director, DancerTomer Heymann, director, Mr. Gaga*Linda Saffire, Adam Schlesinger, directors, Restless Creature
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