Rita Moreno is one of the very few artists who earned the feat of winning an Oscar, an Emmy, a Tony, and a Grammy. Born in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Moreno moved to New York City in 1937 with her mother. She joined a Spanish dance class where the trainer was a relative of actress Rita Hayworth. The contact helped Moreno to start her career as a voice artist in Spanish dubbed versions of Hollywood flicks at the age of 11. Moreno made her Broadway debut when she was 13. She also appeared in small roles in numerous movies including ‘The Toast of New Orleans’ (1950) and ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ (1952) in the ’50s. Her big breakthrough came in 1961 when she landed the role of Anita in the film adaptation of the groundbreaking Broadway musical, ‘West Side Story.’ The role brought Moreno several accolades, including an Oscar.
After playing a key role in ‘Summer and Smoke’ in 1961, Moreno took a break to save the actor in her from a slew of stereotypical characters. She made her return with the Marlon Brando movie ‘The Night of the Following Day’ in 1968. Films like ‘Popi’ (1969), ‘Marlowe’ (1969), ‘Carnal Knowledge’ (1971), ‘The Ritz’ (1976), and ‘The Four Seasons’ (1981) soon followed.
Moreno’s major voice roles include Carmen Sandiego on Fox’s animated series ‘Where on Earth is Carmen Sandiego?’ Her portrayal of the character Sister Pete, a nun in the the hit HBO series ‘Oz’ also earned her immense critical acclaim. She played a recurring role in the cop procedural drama series ‘Law & Order: Criminal Intent.’ Moreno’s Broadway credits include ‘Last of the Red Hot Lovers’ (1969), ‘Gantry’ (1970) and ‘The Ritz.’ At this point, you might be wondering what is the next Rita Moreno movie or TV show? Well, here’s the list of upcoming Rita Moreno films and TV shows scheduled to release in 2019 and 2020. We can only hope that the latest Rita Moreno movies would be as good as some of her recent ones.
4. Carmen Sandiego (2019 – )
Netflix’s ‘Carmen Sandiego‘ is an animated series based on the iconic character of Carmen. The former undercover agent turned globetrotting criminal was introduced in a 1985 video game. In Netflix’s upcoming series, Carmen returns for more theft and mischief. The series features Gina Rodriguez in the titular role while Rita Moreno lends her voice to the character of Cookie Booker as a guest star. Morena voiced the fan-favourite anti-heroine in the last adaptation of the franchise, ‘Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?’, which ran from 1994 to 1999.
In a short clip released by Netflix from the upcoming series, Moreno’s character says, “Young lady, you seem like a smart cookie. If you wish to walk in my shoes someday set your sights higher than pulling pranks or picking pockets. White collar crime is where the real money is.” The series also features ‘Stranger Things’ star Finn Wolfhard in the voice cast. Netflix released Season 1 of ‘Carmen Sandiego’ on January 18, 2019, and a second season has also received the nod from the streaming giant.
3. One Day at a Time (2017–2019)
Based on Norman Lear’s 1975 comedy of the same name, Netflix’s sitcom ‘One Day at a Time‘ re-imagines the original series with a Hispanic family at the center of its plot. The laughter riot centers on a Cuban-American family which consists of a divorced mother, her teenage daughter, tween son, and their Cuban grandma, Lydia Riera, played by Rita Moreno. The other cast members include Justina Machado, Todd Grinnell, Isabella Gomez, Marcel Ruiz, and Stephen Tobolowsky. The critically acclaimed season 3 of the series premiered on February 8, 2019. Netflix canceled the show on March 14, 2019, at the peak of its popularity. There are unconfirmed reports that other networks are interested in reviving the series.
2. Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate (2019)
‘Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate’ is Netflix’s homage to the legendary NBC comedy of the ’60s, ‘Laugh-In,’ hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. It is a one-hour special that brings together the original cast member Lily Tomlin, along with Michael Douglas, Ruth Buzzi, Billy Crystal, Snoop Dogg, Tiffany Haddish, and Chelsea Handler among others. The special explores the history of ‘Laugh-In’ and chronicles its legacy over the decades. ‘Laugh-In’ ran for 140 episodes from January 22, 1968, to March 12, 1973 on NBC. ‘Still Laugh-In: The Stars Celebrate’ premieres on May 14, 2019, on Netflix.
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1. West Side Story (2020)
Steven Spielberg’s long-awaited romantic musical ‘West Side Story‘ is based on the Broadway musical of the same name by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. The movie has a precursor — the 1961 movie ‘West Side Story’ directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. The plot centers on the rivalry between the Puerto Rican gang called the Sharks and the white gang called the Jets. Rita Moreno’s Anita Palacio is in a relationship with Bernardo, head of the Sharks. Bernardo’s younger sister Maria, Anita’s best friend, falls for Tony, who is the co-founder of the Jets. The romantic encounters culminate in a clash between the Sharks and the Jets.
The movie earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Rita Moreno for her portrayal of Anita. In the upcoming Spielberg version, the actress reportedly returns to play the role of Valentina. The role is an expanded and re-imagined version of the character of Doc, the drug store owner and Tony’s boss in the 1961 movie. Moreno also serves as an executive producer of the film. Ansel Elgort and newcomer Rachel Zegler play the roles of Tony and Maria, respectively. The other cast members include Ariana DeBose (Anita), Mike Faist (Riff), David Alvarez (Bernardo), Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino), Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank), Brian d’Arcy James (Sergeant Krupke) and Ana Isabelle (Rosalia). ‘West Side Story’ is scheduled for a December 18, 2020 release.
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