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Rita Moreno was born Rosa Dolores Alverio in Puerto Rico to a family of independent farmers. She moved to New York City with her mother at age five and went on to become one of the few people to win an Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy, and a Grammy throughout her long career. At age 13, she took her vibrant stage presence and star quality to Broadway, and by the next year she had made it to Hollywood, where MGM studio executives suggested she change her name to Rita. Mostly appearing in musicals, her most notable roles of the '50s include Zelda Zande in Singin' in the Rain and Tuptim in The King and I. Her big breakthrough came in 1961 with her role as the spitfire Anita in West Side Story, winning her an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. During the '60s, she took her talents back to the stage and got married, but she did appear in the films Carnal Knowledge and Popi. As a mother during the '70s, she turned to television and got involved with the PBS children's series The Electric Company, which led to a Grammy award for her recording contribution to the soundtrack album. She also won Emmy awards for her work on The Rockford Files and The Muppet Show. Meanwhile, she reprised her Tony-winning Broadway role of entertainer Googie Gomez for the 1976 film version of The Ritz. She appeared in several feature films and TV shows in the '80s and '90's, includingher role as Sister Pete in the HBO prison drama Oz. Since 2000, she has continued to work regularly, most recently in the sitcom Happily Divorced. In September 2011, Rita Moreno began performing a solo autobiographical show at Berkeley Rep, Life Without Makeup written by Berkeley Rep artistic director Tony Taccone..

Founded in 1968, Berkeley Repertory Theatre has established itself as one of this country’s top-ranking professional resident theatre companies, known for its consistently high-quality productions. Winner of the 1997 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, its national reputation draws theatre artists from around the country to work on a variety of productions from September through July.


Rita Moreno discusses the creation and production of
Rita Moreno: Life Without Makeup, at Berkeley Rep through
Oct. 30th 2011, and about her career as an actress,
singer and dancer. The program was recorded on
September 16, 2011 and aired two weeks later.
Google Chrome link (42 minute web edit)

Program as aired on KPFA
heard on Open Book, KPFA-FM,
Pacifica Radio Berkeley California
Friday, June 30, 2011, 3 pm

About the interviewer:

RICHARD WOLINSKY hosts "Bookwaves on Cover to Cover" heard every Thursday at 3:00 pm on KPFA-FM in Berkeley. He also hosts occasional theatre interviews on "Open Book" on Fridays at 3 pm.

Other Berkeley Rep interviews:
Tony Taccone, March 2011 and March 2008
Anna Deavere Smith, June 2011
Indhu Rubasingham  November 2010
Les Waters, March 2010
Sharon Ott, May 2009
Delroy Lindo, November 2008

Archives of programs related to theatre,
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Rita Moreno