Rita Moreno was feted for her performing arts legacy Thursday night at the Los Angeles Music Center’s inaugural summer soiree.
Moreno, the only Latina to secure an EGOT, was presented with the center’s excellence in the performing arts award by “The Nanny” star Fran Drescher.
“She uses her celebrity and her fame for the greater good,” Drescher said of Moreno before welcoming her to the stage. “She leverages it for the advancement of women, for the advancement of the Latin community and anyone that happens to be marginalized in society.”
Moreno earned an Oscar for her portrayal of Anita in 1961’s “West Side Story” and landed Emmy wins for her guest appearances in “The Rockford Files” and “The Muppet Show.” The 84-year-old actress is currently in production on the Netflix reboot of Norman Lear’s 1970’s-80’s family sitcom “One Day at a Time.”
Gracing the Music Center stage with humor and humility, Moreno devoted her acceptance speech to the loved ones who contributed to her multi-faceted career success, including her immigrant mother who “did all that she could to underwrite [her] dreams.”
“That sweet elixir that I call the arts requires more than the creativity and passion of the arts,” said Moreno. “There would be no Misty Copeland, no Rita Moreno, no Lin-Manuel Miranda, no Justina Machado without those of you who encourage, support and applaud.”
The award presentation was followed by an American Ballet Theatre production of “Firebird,” starring Misty Copeland, and an outdoor after-party in Downtown Los Angeles’ Grand Park.