Chita Rivera has the best of it in this misnamed (“Together at Last!”) show in which she and Carol Channing perform two completely separate acts. Rivera’s 75 minutes are expertly written, directed, choreographed, lit, presented and performed, complete with three super backup singer-dancers (male, of course). In Channing’s hour, sadly, this most generous and professional of performers seems simply to have been thrown onto the North Shore Music Theater’s demanding in-the-round stage.
There are still flashes of Channing’s incomparable timing, notably in Charles Gaynor’s monologue “Cecilia Sisson,” perhaps the oldest of her signature pieces. But there is now a frantic, exhausted quality to much of her singing.
Each of the stars’ musical directors draws bold, bouncy rhythms from the first-rate, 11-piece pit band; Rivera’s entourage offers the blanket support Channing could use.
Much of Rivera’s dance material is from her Broadway hits, and her performance suggests she could still cut the mustard in the “Chicago” of today’s Broadway. In addition to recollections of “West Side Story,” “Sweet Charity” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” among others, Rivera proves her voice with the escalating vocal demands of “Our Love Is Here to Stay” and, along with her dancers, romps through “Me and My Babies” and “Thank Heaven for Little Boys.”
Gleaming in purple glitter and, later, a white pantsuit, Rivera still has all the right moves. When she announces, “I haven’t stopped dancing yet,” she’s telling the truth.