The Music Center pays tribute to Rita Moreno

First recipient of The Music Center’s Excellence in the Performing Arts AwardThe Music Center in Los Angeles will award its inaugural Excellence in the Performing Arts Award to one of the nation’s most beloved performers – Rita Moreno – at its Summer Soirée this coming July. The award, which salutes individuals who are pioneers in the creative and performing arts, honors Moreno for her revolutionary efforts to help redefine the role of women in the arts. The multi-talented actress, dancer and singer is one of only 12 performers to receive all four major American entertainment awards, winning the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards. Her countless credits span more than six decades, beginning with her Broadway debut at age 13. She has starred on Broadway and on London’s West End; appeared in more than 40 feature films and countless television shows; and performed in numerous regional theaters and in her one-woman show, Life Without Makeup, at the Berkeley Rep.


Moreno will be honored by The Music Center in the inaugural year of its Soirée, which features a special benefit performance by American Ballet Theatre (ABT) of Alexei Ratmansky’s 2012 Firebird, starring ABT Principals and Southern California natives Misty Copeland and Stella Abrera. The Soirée, which will take place on Thursday, July 7 at both The Music Center’s Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and at Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, will celebrate the new generation of groundbreaking artists, such as Copeland and Abrera, who are transforming the arts. The evening precedes The Music Center’s full ABT engagement running July 8-10.


In making the announcement, Rachel Moore, president and CEO of The Music Center, acknowledged Moreno for continually striving for the finest artistic quality and for an unparalleled commitment to break down the stereotypes that often plague artists of color.


“Rita Moreno raises the bar for both audiences and other performers to a level that is nearly impossible to match. At the same time, she has moved the field forward in ways that others are not willing to do, without letting any boundaries, perceived or real, stop her progress,” Moore said.


“Her undying effort to achieve both excellence and distinction are what make her a great artist and a true pioneer, and we look forward to presenting her with our Excellence in the Performing Arts Award,” Moore added.


This past December, Moreno received a Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American Culture. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama in 2010 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004.


In 2013, her first book, Rita Moreno: A Memoir, published by Celebra Books, instantly became a New York Times bestseller. She received the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award in 2014 and served as the Grand Marshal of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in 2015. Recently, Moreno released her first-ever all-Spanish language album, Una Vez Más, produced by Emilio Estefan. She is the voice of “Abuelita” in the animated series Nina’s World on NBC-TV’s Sprout Network and is currently in production on the Latino remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, One Day at a Time, for Sony Pictures Television and Netflix.


For more information about Soirée or to book tickets, call (213) 972-4322 and go to


Photo courtesy of The Music Center.