Rita Moreno, Ph.D.

Film · Theater

She’s won two Emmys, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony, the so-called “EGOT.” Now she’ll adding missing letters to her alphabet soup of honors, when Rita Moreno receives a Ph.D. from The Juilliard School. She’s great with accents and has a distinctive voice, but even Moreno may struggle with this one: EGOTPhD.

Moreno was just recently in the news along with her One Day at a Time executive producer, Norman Lear, concerning the cancellation of the critically-acclaimed Latino remake of Lear’s classic sitcom on Netflix. When nasty algorithms did the show in, Moreno and Lear co-authored an open protest essay published in The Hollywood Reporter.

The Julliard honorarium piles naches onto another recent Moreno honor: she will play a role in the upcoming re-make of WEST SIDE STORY (1961) directed by Steven Spielberg. Moreno told Dateline.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I see myself revisiting this seminal work. And to be asked by Steven Spielberg to participate is simply thrilling! Then to work together with the brilliant playwright, Tony Kushner – what a glorious stew! I am tingling!”

The tingling is echoed by Spielberg (he is not normally a tingler) who let drop that Moreno is also an executive producer of the new West Side. Again quoting from Dateline:

“From our earliest discussions, we wanted to include Rita Moreno in our production,” says Steven Spielberg. “Her Anita is one of the greatest musical performances ever filmed, and a personal favorite of mine. We created an original role for her, and we feel beyond fortunate that Rita will bring her extraordinary gifts as an actress, as well as her deep understanding of ‘West Side Story’ to this production as an executive producer.”

Juilliard’s graduation ceremony, the 114th for the nation’s premier multi-genre arts academy, will also grant honorary doctorates to choreographer Alonzo King and composer Kaija Saariaho.

The Julliard School commencement | Alice Tully Hall | Fri, May 24, live stream

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