Brazilian triple threat Rita Shukla
For Brazilian performer Rita Shukla, the world is one consecutive stage after another. A talented actress, singer and dancer, Rita’s been tapped to perform on stages across both South America and the States where she’s used her seasoned skill to bring powerful stories to life, never failing to leave an indelible mark on her audience.
As a lead actress in “Bodas de Sangue” at the SESC Theatre and the Cultura Inglesa Theatre, “Pem Pem Pem” directed by Myrian Muniz Award winner Aline Ferraz, “Bailei Na Curva” at the Augusta Theatre, “Quero a Lua,” which she performed across São Paulo and many more, Rita has amassed an impressive repertoire of work over the course of her career to date. One of the most powerful aspects of her craft is her ability to immerse herself deeply within the emotion of her characters and educe an emotional response within the audience.
“I finish a performance always hoping that the same way it changed me in some way, that it touched someone and be the message that someone might have been needing to hear or see,” admits Rita Shukla. “I hope it can touch someone that needs a message, guidance, or healing.”
Last year Rita took to the stage in “Broadway to the Rescue” at the iconic Montalban Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. A benefit for the homeless, “Broadway to the Rescue” brought together ‘one of the largest casts of Broadway stars ever assembled in Los Angeles’ according to Broadway World.
Using her multi-hyphenate talents for a charitable cause, Rita performed alongside some of the most recognizable Broadway performers including Tony Award Winner LiLlias White (“The Life,” “Dreamgirls”), Tony Award Nominee John Tartaglia (“Avenue Q,” “Shrek the Musical”), Tony Award Nominee Sharon McNight (“Starmites”), Barrett Foa (“NCIS: LA,” “Avenue Q”), Drama Desk Award Winner Aaron Lazar (“Les Miserables,” “The Light in the Piazza”) and many more.
Rita says, “It was just humbling to be a part of a project with such an amazing cast and for such a good cause. It was just very gratifying and a joy to be sharing my gifts with this all star cast and help the homeless in Los Angeles.”
As a key singer and dancer in the show, Rita gave a seamless and lively performance in “Broadway to the Rescue,” which weaved together acts from some of Broadway’s greatest hits, including “Rent,” “Les Miserables,” “Hairspray,” “Little Shop of Horrors,” “Avenue Q,” “Cats” and others.
Through her critical performances in numbers such as “Good Morning Baltimore” from “Hairspray,” “Underground” from “Memphis,” “Aquarius” from “Hair,” as well as a mashup number from “A Chorus Line” and “Wedding Singer” led by J. Elaine Marcos, Rita dazzled audiences with her seasoned skill as a dancer, something she began cultivating early on in her youth.
“Broadway to the Rescue” choreographer Rodrigo Varandas says,“Rita’s reputation in Southern California is one of the best. When I started working with her she not only matched my expectations but exceeded them. Once we have our Broadway cast we then invite LA performers to join. They have to be the highest caliber of performers in order to rise to the occasion and Rita with her extensive training and performance skills not only was invited to be in the ensemble but ended up having major features parts in the show.”
Though Rita’s dance numbers in “Broadway to the Rescue” were all jazz based, her skill as a dancer actually extends to include a multitude of styles, such as flamenco, tap and belly dancing, all of which she’s performed professionally around the world, including the “Cia Arte Milenar Jimena Lourenço” featuring celebrated singer Tony Mouzayek in Brazil.
Varandas adds, “I feel that her Brazilian culture makes her unique already. But she is able to incorporate American culture in her performance as well and that is just impossible to find. She mesmerized me every time she sang and danced.”
Her extraordinary range as a vocalist was another key element that led Rita to be cast in the show, and she went on to be part of the ensemble for “One Day More” from “Les Miserables,” “Will I” and “Seasons of Love” from “Rent,” “I Know Where I’ve Been” from “Hairspray,” “Aquarius” from “Hair,” “Schuyler Sisters” from “Hamilton,” as well as “Good Morning Baltimore” and “Underground,” which she danced in as well.
She says, “Being able to express our gifts as performers and help others is what every performer should genuinely aim for…. The arts heal us and makes us better people, and we should use our gifts as performers to help enlighten others and try to give back to the community.”
Growing up in Campinas, a metropolitan São Paulo city in Brazil, Rita discovered her passion for the arts early on. At a time when most of her peers were still learning their ABC’s and rudimentary reading skills, Rita was busy perfecting the skills that have lead her to be such a powerful star on stage. She began singing and training on the piano at age 4, dance training at 11 and acting professionally at 16; and the confidence and precise skill she brings to her performances today are the result of the ceaseless dedication she’s devoted to perfecting her craft in each of these areas.
Rita performing as the lead vocalist of the Rumba Band
Rita’s become best known for her performances that pull all of her talents together in one show, such as “Making Musical 3” with renowned Brazilian director Wolf Maya, who’s won two APCA trophies from the São Paulo Association of Art Critics Awards and a Prêmio Contigo Award, "Now Departing” directed by Amy Moorman, and Drama Desk Award and Tony Award Nominated actress Jane Lanier.
But she’s also garnered extensive praise for her work as a singer, actress and dancer on an individual level. As a singer, she’s currently a lead vocalist for Lloyd Moss & The Rock Collective, in addition to singing for Rumba Band, Eletrobossa and Redemptrix. She’s also taken to the stage in a plethora of professional dance performances, such as “O Céu Não É o Limite” choreographed by Karina Maganha, the artistic director and choreographer of Flamenco Company Café Tablao, “Noite Flamenca,” as well as "A Arte Milenar Da Dança Do Ventre," "1° Festival de Dança Do Ventre," "2° Festival de Dança Do Ventre," with the Jimena Lourenço Dance Company and more.
Rita in "Le Voyage" shot by Kene Heuser
Aside from making her name known on stages around the world, Rita’s talent for embodying characters on camera, not to mention her aesthetic appeal has also led her to be tapped as a model for several projects with artist Kene Heuser, including “Vintage,” “Le Fille De La Mer” and “Le Voyage,” all of which were featured at exhibitions at the Frei Caneca Shopping and Convention Center in São Paulo, Brazil.
For this multi-talented beauty the world is a stage for emotional expression and a venue for touching stories to be told; and, with her seasoned skills as an actor, singer and dancer setting her apart from the masses, we know she’s one performer who will continue to make a splash in the entertainment industry on an international level.