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Broadway theaters dim their lights to honor late actress Chita Rivera

Broadway dims marquee lights in honor of legendary performer Chita Rivera
Broadway dims marquee lights in honor of legendary performer Chita Rivera 02:27

NEW YORK -- The Broadway community honored late actress Chita Rivera's memory Saturday night by dimming the lights on theater marquees.

CBS New York's Jennifer Bisram talked exclusively to Rivera's only daughter, Lisa Mordente, after she took in the moment.

"That was reminding me of how powerful she was and how much people loved her. It was, it was a moment," Mordente said.

She was among those who showed up to watch the magical New York minute.

"I was very happy to share her with everybody," she said. "It was outstanding. It was a beautiful, beautiful thing."

The two-time Tony Award-winning actress was a triple threat. On stage and on the screen, she acted, danced and sang, and away from the spotlight, she was Mom.

"Oh god, she was like, we all have moms, so we all have those moments of, 'Oh, Mom!' But she was a great mom, and she was like a best friend," Mordente said. "I'd go on tour with her and she was such a great lady. A lot of just really great memories. I've been blessed."

Rivera was 91 when she passed away in January. Her career spanned nearly seven decades on Broadway.

She starred as the original Anita in the 1957 musical "West Side Story" and also left audiences in awe after her iconic performances in "Kiss of the Spider Woman" and "Chicago."

As Broadway's bright lights dimmed in her honor, her footprint could also be felt by her fans and the theater community.

"It's one of the best gifts we do, and they have to coordinate with all the electricians backstage," James Kabel said.

"It felt amazing. It felt like her spirit being lifted off the theater ground here in New York and onto the heavens," fan Yancarlos Diaz said.

While the curtains may have closed on Rivera's life story, she has opened doors for many for generations to come and has left lasting memories for those who loved her.

"'West Side Story,' of course. But I didn't see that, I was just in the tummy. So I was actually in it with her for six months," Mordente said.

The Broadway League says dimming the lights on Broadway is one of the highest honors for a Broadway actor.

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