The Boston Theater Critics Association (BTCA) — of which I am president– is pleased to announce Broadway icon CHITA RIVERA will be the recipient of  the 2013 Elliot Norton Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s awards ceremony set for Monday May 13 (7pm) at the Paramount Center, 559 Washington Street, Boston! Tickets go on sale April 8 and are $30 (including post- ceremony party). Use “NortonSave” code to receive $5 off for the month of April only. Tickets are available by phone at 617-824-8000 or online at http://www.aestages.org. Here’s our official media release:

“An accomplished and versatile actress/singer/dancer, Chita Rivera has won two Tony Awards as Best Leading Actress in a Musical and received seven additional Tony nominations. She just concluded a successful run starring in the new Roundabout Theatre Company’s production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood on Broadway.

Chita was awarded The Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama on August 12, 2009. She received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor in Washington, DC in December, 2002 and is the first Hispanic ever chosen to receive this award.  Chita’s current solo CD is entitled And Now I Swing. On October 7, 2013 she will be honored with a star-studded concert on Broadway “Chita: A Legendary Celebration” to Benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS at a theatre to be announced. Her most treasured production is her daughter, singer/dancer/choreographer Lisa Mordente.

According to Joyce Kulhawik, President of the BTCA, ‘We can’t wait to honor the dazzling Chita–everyone loves her drama and warmth! She’s larger than life– and is especially  inspiring to young artists who literally want to follow in her footsteps.’

She starred in the Broadway and touring productions of The Dancer’s Life, a dazzling new musical celebrating her spectacular career, written by Terence McNally and directed by Graciela Daniele. She recreated her starring role in The Visit, the new Kander/Ebb/McNally musical at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA (originally done at the Goodman Theatre, Chicago in 2001). She also starred in the revival of the Broadway musical Nine with Antonio Banderas.

She trained as a ballerina (from age 11) before receiving a scholarship to the American School of Ballet from legendary George Balanchine. Chita’s first appearance (age 17) was as a principal dancer in Call Me Madam.  Her electric performance as Anita in the Broadway premiere of West Side Story (1957) brought her stardom, which she repeated in London. Her career is highlighted by starring roles in Bye Bye Birdie, The Rink (Tony Award), Chicago, Jerry’s Girls, Kiss of the Spider Woman (Tony Award), and the original Broadway casts of Guys and Dolls, Can-Can, Seventh Heaven and Mr. Wonderful.  On tour: Born Yesterday, The Rose Tattoo, Call Me Madam, Threepenny Opera, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, Zorba, Can-Can with The Rockettes.

The Elliot Norton Awards are named in honor of the distinguished Boston theater critic Elliot Norton, who for many years served on the selection committee and who remained an engaged supporter of the drama, both locally and nationally, until his death in 2003 at the age of 100. For 48 years Mr. Norton was a drama critic for Boston newspapers; concurrently, from 1958 until his retirement in 1982, he was moderator of Elliot Norton Reviews on WGBH television. The Norton Medal was first bestowed in 1983. Since then, the awards have grown to include, in addition to the Prize for Sustained Excellence, almost two dozen awards presented annually to outstanding productions, performers, directors, and designers.

The Boston Theater Critics Association, which presents the Elliot Norton Awards, includes Don Aucoin, Jared Bowen, Terry Byrne, Carolyn Clay, Nick Dussault, Iris Fanger, Joyce Kulhawik, Sandy MacDonald, Robert Nesti, Kilian Melloy, and Ed Siegel. Together with the thriving local theater commuity, they carry on his legacy.

For updates and information, visit nortonawardsboston.com and like us on Facebook  (www.facebook.com/ElliotNortonAwards) and follow us on Twitter @nortonawards”