When you come out to a live performance featuring the one and only Rita Moreno, you are in
for a treat you won't expect. Even though this screen siren is 81-years-old, she's still using her sex appeal to create a
sultry jazz performance for all of her biggest fans. She dances, undulates on top of a piano and sings in a raspy, jazz voice
like a woman half her age. It's as if the spirit of the saucy Anita from West Side Story still has control of Moreno's body.
And with every note, you will see why this amazing singer has been the recipient of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award
for her incredible body of work. With an amazing voice and a naughty sense of humor, this famous actress is becoming one of
the most talked about jazz singers in the country.
Rita Moreno is one of only 11 people in the
entertainment world to have received an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. This status, also called an EGOT, is very difficult
to achieve. For what projects did this legendary perform earn those awards?
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in
West Side Story in 1961Grammy Award for her work on The Electric Company Album in 1972Two Emmy Awards for Individual Performance
in a Variety of Music Program and for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for her work on The Muppet Show and The
Rockford FilesTony Award for Best Featured Actress in the play The Ritz in 1975
Moreno has also received the Presidential
Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement
About the Artist
Rita Moreno was born Rosa Dolores Alverio in Puerto Rico. Her mother was a seamstress
and her father was a farmer. Moreno remembers life being enjoyable and pleasant before her mother moved her to New York with
her new stepfather, Edward Moreno. Her mother told her they were going to America for a better life, but it didn't feel that
way to Moreno. She often had to avoid gangs in her rough neighborhood and was constantly tormented for her ethnic background.
Soon, Moreno found hope and purpose in dance. She began taking lessons when she was just a child, from Paco CAnsino—Rita
Hayworth's uncle. By the time she was 11, she was lending her voice to Spanish language versions of popular American films,
and landed her first Broadway role at the age of 13. Her role as "Angelina" in the Broadway production of Skydrift caught
the attention of Hollywood scouts who were looking for fresh talent. The scouts brought her to California where she was offered
a seven-year contract by Louis B. Mayer—owner of the MGM empire. But, to Moreno's dismay, she was only offered roles
as ethnic characters who were often barefoot and spoke with an accent.
Even though Moreno wasn't thrilled with her roles
during that time, she had small parts in some of the greatest films of all time. She appeared in The King and I, Singin' in
the Rain and Carnal Knowledge. After portraying stereotypical ethnic characters for several years, Moreno finally won a dream
part—a role in West Side Story. She was cast as the sassy, scene-stealing Anita who tries to be the voice of reason
when her friend Maria wants to date outside of her ethnicity. The role earned the actress an Academy Award for Best Supporting
Actress and cemented her iconic status in the entertainment world.
But despite her new-found fame, the roles she was
being offered were still the same old stereotypical roles she'd been offered before. Moreno made a bold move and turned down
anything she couldn't be proud of. This led to a seven-year drought in the star's career. But that seven years was worth the
wait. She went on to appear in films with Marlon Brando, Alan Arkin, Charlton Heston and Peter Graves.
Since then, the
legendary performer has not only made her mark in film, television and on Broadway, but she has begun to make her mark in
the music business as well. She is currently on tour, singing classic jazz tunes and performing with the same enthusiasm and
vigor as she did when she started in the entertainment business.
many years playing bit parts in major MGM productions like Singin' in the Rain and The King and I. While she was happy to
be a part of the Hollywood scene, Moreno was looking for more. She soon found it when she was offered the part of Anita in
Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins' film adaptation of the iconic Broadway production of West Side Story. The role allowed Moreno
to show not only her singing and dancing skills, but it allowed her to show her dramatic skills as an actress. The film community
took notice and her performance earned the actress an Academy Award. After that, Moreno was a household name, and continues
to find work even at the age of 81.
If you saw Moreno in the 1960s and 70s when she resembled
a young, Spanish Elizabeth Taylor, you probably saw her performing with a sultry performance style that left audiences stunned.
Well, not much has changed in Moreno's 60 plus years of performing. She still knows how to work the stage and use her sexuality
to make the audience blush. And with a jazzy voice that rivals the best in the business, you will be begging for more at the
end of the set.