The 2019 Chita Rivera Awards took place last night at NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts.
The successful night was full of gleeful moments honoring the best of the theater world. The mission of the Chita Rivera Awards is to celebrate dance and choreographic excellence, preserve notable dance history, recognize past, present and future talents, while promoting high standards in dance education and investing in the next generation.
Outstanding Choreography Off Broadway: Rick and Jeff Kuperman, Alice By Heart
Outstanding Male Dancer Off Broadway:Wesley Taylor, Alice By Heart
Outstanding Female Dancer Off Broadway: Irina Dvorovenko, The Beast in the Jungle
Outstanding Ensemble Off Broadway: Smokey Joe’s Café, Steven Baruch, Mark Routh, Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel
Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show: A tie for Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, The Cher Show and Gabrielle Hamilton, Oklahoma!
Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show: King Kong
Theatrical Release: Mary Poppins Returns – (Release date, December 19, 2018, Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda) Choreographers: Rob Marshall & John DeLuca; Co-Choreographer, Joey Pizzi; Associate Choreographer, Tara Nichole Hughes, Assistant Choreographer: Marlon Pelayo
Documentaries: Moving Stories, Lives Transformed By Dance – (Release Date, August 11, 2018, Battery Dance Festival, MoMa) Director: Rob Fruchtman, Wilderness Films, Produce
Presenters for the evening included: Chita Rivera, Andy Blankenbuehler, Camille A. Brown, Ariana DeBose, Luann de Lesseps, Micaela Diamond, Damon J. Gillespie, Savion Glover, Marilu Henner, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Tiler Peck, Lee Roy Reams, Michael Riedel, Ethan Slater, Mary Testa and Richard Thomas.
At the evening’s ceremony, dancer, choreographer and theater director Graciela Daniele received the third annual Lifetime Achievement Award, and Flody Suarez, Jeffrey Seller, and Cher (producers of The Cher Show on Broadway) were honored with the Ambassador for the Arts Award honoring their contribution to the convergence of theater, film, and television. George C. Wolfe was presented with the SDC Director Award for exemplary collaboration with choreographers on Broadway and Carol Paumgarten received the Vanguard Award for her outstanding contribution to the international dance community, having founded Steps on Broadway Dance Studio 40 years ago. The evening was hosted by Ann Reinking and Ben Vereen.