Marty and I met Rita Moreno at a neighbor's New Year's Day party about 8 years ago. We walked in and this beautiful woman walked up to me and said, "Hi, I'm Rita." And I was tongue tied. Of course she was Rita. She was Rita Freaking Moreno, shaking hands with me, talking to me about cooking. I babbled stupid gushing fan things and then promised I would never act that way again. And over the years at neighborhood parties, I have been almost normal talking to her. But she is Rita Freaking Moreno.
We have seen her in concert, been at an event where she was given an award, seen her in movies and on TV, she has led the neighbors in Christmas songs, she has been a neighbor. She is an amazing beautiful person.
Saturday our good friend Thom called and asked if we would like two tickets to see Rita's show. Of course we wanted the tickets. Last night we really saw Rita, well what she would let us see. We saw her one woman show at Berkley Rep, Rita Moreno Life Without Makeup. If you only see one performance this year, this is the one to see. We laughed, we cried, we were horrified by the way she had been treated. This show is great.
Rita is 79 years old. She admits it, makes no bones about her age. She dances as well as ever, sings like an angel, and is sexy as hell.
This is a picture of Rita Moreno in San Francisco Magazine. Trust me she looks this great in person.
See, this was taken with my iphone at a Christmas party. She is gorgeous and fun.
In 1961 Rita won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for West Side Story. (The dancing in this You Tube link was recreated in the show last night. She had two male dancers who performed with her.) Fellow winner from West Side Story George Chakiris is beside her.
This is a page from the program listing some of the awards Rita Moreno has won. No, you probably can't read it. But you can tell, she has won a lot of awards. Just four you might have heard of: Grammy, Oscar, Tony, Emmy. If you click on her name at the beginning of this blog, you can read the list in that article.
Last night was magic. Live theater always is. But this was a much higher level. We were with an American Icon who brought the audience to their feet to cheer her. Fabulous show, go see it while you can. It won't be long before it will be on Broadway.