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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 21, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 43
Rita Moreno is a national treasure
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Rita Moreno is a national treasure

by Eric Andrews-Katz - SGN A&E Writer

'AN EVENING WITH RITA MORENO'
BROADWAY CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS
PANTAGES THEATRE - TACOMA
October 16


Rita Moreno is one of America's greatest treasures. She is one of the very few prestigious Grand Slam honorees; the winner of a Tony, Emmy, Oscar, and Grammy, and is the only living recipient of the Grand Slam and the Kennedy Center's Lifetime Achievement Award. At the final concert (of three) in Washington state, this classic Lady of Entertainment took full control of Tacoma's Pantages Theatre. [Rita Moreno also presented her show at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts in Olympia on October 13 and at the Edmonds Center for the Arts on October 15.]

The orchestra was a trio consisting of a pianist, a cellist and a percussionist. Ms. Moreno was greeted by an enthusiastic audience and launched into a song proclaiming her love of Broadway. After several more numbers, she addressed and welcomed the audience. The proud 84-year old (she will be 85 on December 11th) continued with several recording styles, including Broadway, classic jazz, swing, and two songs from her new CD exclusively in Spanish (Una Vez Mas) produced by Emilio Estevez. Explaining that she is a friend with Manuel Lynn Miranda (author/star of Hamilton and In the Heights), Ms. Moreno delighted the audience with a short Rap showing her talents are ever expanding and consistently entertaining. She sang songs in honor of her love for New York City, accompanied by stories about both the residents and the tourists of 'the Greatest City in the World.' Engaging the audience with personal stories between songs, she recounted tales of being born in Puerto Rico, her first days on a Hollywood set, her eight year love affair with Marlon Brandon, and the time when Elvis' manager called to ask her to go out on a date with The King of Rock and Roll.

Ms. Moreno put on an enjoyable concert. Lasting just over 90 minutes (including a short intermission) the concert was more of a cabaret piece than a life-story told with music. While delivering a beautiful rendition of 'I Won't Send Roses' among new renditions of several other classic numbers, all songs from her film career, such as The King and I or her Academy Award-winning performance in West Side Story, remained absent. Delivering an encore from her latest recording, Rita Moreno seductively sang in her native language leaving the audience on a beautifully gentle note.

Rita Moreno left her native Puerto Rico and moved with her mother to New York City in 1936. She made her Broadway debut at 13 years of age before moving to California. After a noticeable, smaller role in the Gene Kelly film Singing in the Rain, Ms. Moreno was cast as Tuptim in the movie musical of The King and I. It was for her role as 'Anita' in the film version of West Side Story that she won an Academy Award. She continued in 1972 with a Grammy win for The Electric Company Album, a Tony Award for her role as Googie Gomez in The Ritz in 1975 (which she reprised in the 1976 film version), and in 1977 and 1978 she had two consecutive Emmy Award wins. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama, and was awarded the prestigious Kennedy Center Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award in 2015.

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