Chita Rivera Awards – Press Coverage



Winners for the 2018 Chita Rivera Awards were announced last night at The NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts (566 LaGuardia Place off Washington Square Park). On the scene were JK Clarke - photos and Sandi Durell - video interviews. (see video below)

At the evening's ceremony, actress, dancer, and choreographer Carmen De Lavallade received the second annual Lifetime Achievement Award, (presented by Maurice Hines) preceded by wonderful film clips of her amazing career. A gorgeous, graceful tribute performance by Lindsey Croop (Dance Theatre of Harlem) "Songs of the Auvergne" was delightful to watch. Ms. Lavallade gleefully said "but I haven't finished my life yet" with words of wisdom to the young dancers noting the freedom they have to do what they want if they'd just "put down that cell phone, explore and learn."

Iconic composer John Kander received the Outstanding Contribution to Musical Theater as a Composer, introduced by Joel Grey, and presented by  long time friend Chita Rivera. He had heartfelt thanks saying although he's married to a dancer, he just doesn't understand them! No matter, he's written some of the best music for the best in the industry!

 Legendary theater director Harold Prince was presented (by Pat Burch) with the SDC Director Award for Exemplary Collaboration with Choreographers, noting his thank you with the long line of choreographers he's worked with in his 67 years of collaboration, and Steven Hoggett, who is represented on Broadway this season with Angels in America and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, received the inaugural Douglas and Ethel Watt Critics' Choice Award introduced by Len Cariou who said he didn't understand why he was at the podium, as he can't dance at all. He was assisted by Patricia Watt and Lee Roy Reams.

The evening was sprinkled with eye-boggling performances, especially from the amazing students at Art of Dance in NJ (from tots to teens) in "Sing, Sing, Sing" choreographed by Valerie Harman.

Other performances include American Dance Machine for the 21st C "Where You Are" (Kiss of the Spider Woman, featuring Stephanie Pope, J. Ryan Carroll and Robert Montano); an amazing "Nil Desperandum" (Bastard Jones) by Marc Acito and Evan Ruggiero. Dancers Brittany Pollack and Andrei Chagas performed the "Carousel Ballet" from Carousel; the new John Kander musical The Beast in the Jungle, was represented by "Pizzica" with Irina Dvorovenko and Tony Yazbeck. Summer: The Donna Summer Musical featured winner Ariana DeBose and the cast in "Hot Stuff" - and it was!

But a runaway was watching Harvey Fierstein singing "If I Were a Rich Man" (Fiddler on the Roof). Vryonha Parham sang "Cabaret" and the newest phantom Ben Crawford offered the iconic "The Music of the Night."

Other presenters included Norbert Leo Butz, Karen Ziemba and Allyson Tucker and Brian 'Stokes' Mitchell.

Eugene Gwozdz served as musical director, with Joe Lanteri as director.

The 2018 Chita Rivera Awards were produced by Nikki Feirt Atkins (Founder and Producing Artistic Director of American Dance Machine for the 21st Century) and Joe Lanteri (Founder and Executive Director of the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation) with Patricia Watt and Iris SmithLanteri also served as director of the 2018 Chita Rivera Awards.

Carrying the namesake of one of the great dance icons of the American musical theater, the mission of the Chita Rivera Awards is to celebrate dance and choreographic excellence -- past, present and future. The awards honor the superb achievement of each nominee, while recognizing the talents and passion of every theatrical choreographer and dancer.  Additionally, through education and scholarships, the awards are committed to nurturing future generations, and preserving notable dance history.

Nominators considered outstanding choreography, featured dancers and ensembles in shows on Broadway and Off Broadway, and outstanding choreography in film. There are separate Nominating Committees for Broadway, Off Broadway and Film. Broadway winners are selected by the Awarding Committee. 



(winners are starred and in bold)


Outstanding Choreography in a Broadway Show:

Camille A. Brown, Once on This Island

Christopher Gattelli, SpongeBob SquarePants

Casey Nicholaw, Mean Girls

Justin Peck, Carousel

***Sergio Trujillo, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical 


Outstanding Ensemble in a Broadway Show:

***Carousel (tie)

***Mean Girls (tie)

Once on This Island

SpongeBob SquarePants

Summer: The Donna Summer Musical


Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show:

Norbert Leo Butz, My Fair Lady                        

Andrei Chagas, Carousel                     

Gavin Lee, SpongeBob SquarePants                         

Amar Ramasar, Carousel                       

***Tony Yazbeck, Prince of Broadway          


Outstanding Female Dancer in a Broadway Show:

Yesenia Ayala, Carousel

***Ariana DeBose, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical                

Hailey Kilgore, Once on This Island

Katrina Lenk, The Band's Visit

Skye Mattox, Carousel

Ashley Park, Mean Girls

Brittany Pollack, Carousel               


Outstanding Choreography in an Off-Broadway Show:

Nejla Yatkin, The Boy Who Danced on Air 

Sonya Tayeh, Hundred Days 

***Zach Morris & Jennine Willet, Ghost Light 

Chris Bailey, Jerry Springer: The Opera 

Monica Bill Barnes, One Night Only 


Outstanding Female Dancer in an Off- Broadway Show:

Anna Bass, One Night Only

***Monica Bill Barnes, One Night Only

Elizabeth Carena, Ghost Light

Tiffany Mann, Jerry Springer: The Opera 

Kenita R. Miller, Bella


Outstanding Male Dancer in an Off- Broadway Show:

Colin Campbell, Disco Pigs

***Robert Fairchild, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Troy Iwata, The Boy Who Danced on Air

Evan Ruggiero, Bastard Jones

Nikhil Saboo, The Boy Who Danced on Air




Theatrical Release Nominees

Basmati Blues - (stars Brie Larson, Donald Sutherland and Tyne Daly) Choreographers are: Noemie LaFrance (listed individually on main credit roll) and Rajeev, Dimple Ganguly, Vijay Ganguly, and, Ryan Heffington (listed in on screen credits by shoot location)


Finding Your Feet - (stars Imelda Staunton, Timothy Spall, and Joanna Lumley) Mark Jennings, Choreographer


Hello Again - (stars Audra McDonald, Martha Plimpton and Cheyenne Jackson) Todd Underwood, Choreographer 


Polina, danser sa vie - (stars Juliette Binoche) Angelin Preljocaj, Choreographer   


***The Greatest Showman - (stars Hugh Jackman) Shannon Holtzapffel, Ashley Wallen, Choreographers 


Documentary Nominees

Step - Directed by Amanda Lipitz 


Bobbi Jene -  Directed by Elvira Lind 


***Anatomy of a Male Ballet Dancer - (stars Marcelo Gomes) 

Directed by David Barba and James Pellerito

  • Carmen De Lavallade
  • Lee Roy Reams
  • Harvey Fierstein
  • Joe Lanteri (L)
  • Joe Lanteri & Patti Watt
  • Art of Dance Students, New Jersey "Sing, Sing, Sing"
  • Len Cariou
  • Evan Ruggiero
  • Nikki Feirt Atkins
  • Ben Crawford
  • Tony Yazbeck
  • Irina Dvorovenko
  • Irina Dvorovenko, Tony Yazbeck
  • Ariana DeBose (Winner Outstanding Female Dancer/Broadway Show)
  • Storm Lever
  • Riki Kane Larimer
  • Patricia Watt
  • Nejla Yatkin, Troy Iwata
  • Joel Grey
  • Katrina Lenk
  • Orfeh, Andy Karl
  • Carmen De Lavallade, Joel Grey
  • Carmen De Lavallade, Joel Grey
  • Carmen De Lavallade (Lifetime Achievement Award)
  • Karen Ziemba
  • Chita Rivera, Joe Lanteri
  • Nikki Feirt Atkins, Chita Rivera, Joe Lanteri
  • Ashley Park
  • Pat Burch
  • Jesse Mueller
  • Troy Iwata, Nikhil Saboo
  • Nikhil Saboo
  • Chris Bailey
  • Kenita R. Miller and family
  • Kenita R. Miller
  • Ashley Park, Nikhil Saboo
  • John Kander
  • Casey Nicholaw and cast of 'Mean Girls'
  • Casey Nicholaw
  • Harvey Fierstein
  • Cast of SpongeBob SquarePants
  • Gavin Lee
  • Christopher Gattelli, Gavin Lee
  • Christopher Gattelli
  • Lea Salonga and daughter
  • Brian 'Stokes' Mitchell
  • Jeremy Jordan
  • Laura Osnes
  • Norbert Leo Butz
  • Robert Fairchild
  • Tiffany Mann
  • Allyson Tucker, Brian Stokes Mitchell
  • Maurice Hines
  • Hailey Kilgore
  • (L) Sergio Trujillo
  • Hailey Kilgore


Photos: JK Clarke