Who’s cooler than Rita Moreno?  It’s a short list, no matter which way you come at it.  Let’s face it, the talented EGOT* – who’s also received a Golden Globe, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the National Medal of the Arts, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Kennedy Center Honors, and Lifetime Achievement Awards from HOLA**, the Latin Grammys, the Television Critics Association, and the Screen Actors Guild – is also a tireless fighter and champion for equality.

I mean, anyone who can make her bones in some major classic Hollywood gems (Singin’ in the Rain, The King & I, and West Side Story, the last of which won her an Oscar); and follow that by voicing the “Hey, you guys!” so memorable to my generation (for opening each episode of The Electric Company); winning an Emmy for singing “Fever” with ‘Animal’ and ‘Floyd’ on The Muppet Show (S1, Ep 5); winning a Tony and receiving a Golden Globe nom, for her riotous portrayal of ‘Googie Gomez’ in the gay camp classic The Ritz (on Broadway, and on the big screen, respectively); only to rock a nun’s habit as ‘Sister Pete’ on Oz?  Uh…  Yes, please!  And now her star continues to shine, on Netflix’s reboot of One Day at a Time

Which brings me to the following fortuitous tidings.  When Moreno receives her honorific as “Woman of the Year” at Nevada Ballet Theatre’s 35th annual Black & White Ball (being held on January 26th, at Aria Resort & Casino); Norman Lear – the writer/producer who gave the world such seminal ‘70s sitcoms as All in the Family, Sanford and Son, Maude, Good Times, The Jeffersons, One Day at a Time, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and Fernwood 2 Night; financed This is Spinal Tap, and served as executive producer on such blockbuster films as Stand By Me, The Princess Bride, and Fried Green Tomatoes – will be serving as the evening’s Honorary Chair. 


The Shops at Crystals has stepped-up as the evening’s Lead Sponsor, with Crystals’ Monique Clements declaring NBT to be “one of Las Vegas’ cultural jewels,” and announcing a series of one-of-a-kind shopping experiences with their collection of world-renowned luxury retailers, that will peak with the Dolce & Gabbana-hosted VIP pre-event cocktail reception.  Further significant donations toward the evening are being provided by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits and Ethel M Chocolates

Meanwhile, no gala is ever complete without a couple pairs of Dinner Chairs, and for the 35th annual Black & White Ball, Lilian Tomovich & Jeffrey Moscoe and Dawn & Christopher Hume will be steering the NBT ship.  But that’s not all...  The evening will conclude with the Ballet’s first-ever after-party, sponsored by JEWEL Nightclub!

As it has for three and a half decades, the Black & White Ball will raise funding for Nevada Ballet Theatre’s professional company productions (at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts); NBT’s affiliated school (the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre); and the organization’s Education-and-Outreach programs for at-risk youth (currently serving over 20,000 students each year). 

Nevada Ballet Theatre’s 35th Annual Black & White Ball honoring Rita Moreno as 2019 Woman of the Year
ARIA Resort & Casino | Saturday, January 26th

Click HERE for info and tickets

Get into it!

[Editor’s Notes: * EGOT is an acronym coined by Phillip Michael Thomas for anyone having won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony (aka the 'grand slam' of American showbiz) – of which Moreno was only the third such artist to be so recognized; following Richard Rogers (1962), and Helen Hayes (1977).  Hayes achieved EGOT status in February 1977 (following her winning ‘Best Spoken-Word Album’ with Henry Fonda, James Earl Jones, and Orson Welles, for Great American Documents, at the 19th Annual Grammy Awards); mere months before Moreno would achieve hers, in September 1977 (following her winning ‘Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program’ for The Muppet Show, at the 29th Primetime Emmy Awards). // * The Hispanic Organization of Latina Actresses (HOLA) bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award on Moreno in 2010; after already having renamed its Award for Excellence in her honor, in 2000, as the HOLA Rita Moreno Award for Excellence.]