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How I Met Chita Rivera

December 31, 2009 at home in Honolulu Hawaii: 

Chita Rivera just called this morning to wish me a Happy New Year.   She said it was freezing in NY.   I told her it was balmy here in Honolulu. We had a great conversation and promised to meet up somewhere in the world in 2010.

Chita and I have become friends through Atlantis. It was on earlier Baltic/Med cruises. A bunch of us had to get up really early in Civitavecchia to take a limo to the Rome airport to fly to Berlin to catch another shuttle down to Wannemunde Germany to pick up the ship.  We were running through airports and stopping at german roadside diner for schnitzel and wurst wagons for brats in between catching zzzz's (as I had fninshed a show late on the last night and had a show that evening!).

It was on that transit that I first met Chita and we became friends. Since then we always see each other's shows and make it a point to hang out, not only at the Solstice late nite crepe restaurant (see my pix at  but also in at least one of the ports per cruise.

So we've gotten to know each other through spending wonderful times in Germany and Sweden, etc.  At an outdoor restaurant in Stockholm, she leaned over and whispered to me, "By the way, I'm going to be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House from President Obama. But don't tell anybody cause it's supposed to be a secret!"  

A few weeks later, we were watching her on TV being honored along with people like Desmond Tutu, Sandra Day O'Connor, etc.

She's like Disney Legend Bob Gurr.  She's who you wanna be when you're in your 70s.  She always makes me cry during her closing numbers.  And I'm always amazed by her shows.   And I love it when she brings her crew to my shows too!

What a great way to open the last day of 2009!

Aloha and Happy New Year everyone!

Matt Yee

(CLICK HERE to see a video of Chita giving me a Shout-Out on my MATT YEE Live on ATLANTIS sampler)