Eunuchs, Butlers and Yellow Shoes: Chita Rivera Opens Broadway’s ‘The Visit’

Visit opening Broadway Chita Rivera
Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic

The opening night of Broadway musical “The Visit” was a little bit old school, and a little bit new. The dress code was black tie — and yellow shoes.

The shoes were a nod to the stylized design of director John Doyle’s production of the Kander and Ebb musical, based on the 1956 Durrenmatt play. In the show, about a rich woman who returns to her impoverished hometown with an offer they should probably refuse, yellow shoes are an important symbol. “It’s an image of greed, and envy and jealousy,” Doyle said.

That rich woman is played, of course, by Chita Rivera — the Broadway legend who, at the April 23 opening, got a standing ovation on her entrance.

What makes Chita such Broadway royalty? “Humanity,” Doyle said. “Great humanity. And that comes through.”

“The Visit,” which has a book by Terrence McNally, has finally visited Broadway after a long road that began way back in 2001. Rivera has been involved in the show since the very beginning.

“It takes an audience many many places,” she said in explaining her longstanding commitment to the musical. “It’s rich. I like rich.”

Besides, she noted, “How often does somebody walk onstage with two eunuchs and a butler? That’s good stuff.”