Ana Villafañe to Star in NBC’s Comedy Pilot “Night Court,” a Follow-Up to the Classic Legal Series

Ana Villafañe is holding court

The 32-year-old Cuban and Salvadoran American actress/singer has landed a series regular in NBC’s half-hour pilot Night Court.

Ana Villafañe

The project is a follow-up to the classic legal comedy series headlined and executive produced by The Big Bang TheoryMelissa Rauch, with the original series’ John Larroquette reprising his Emmy-winning role.

Written/executive produced by Dan Rubin based on the original series created by Reinhold Weege, the multi-camera Night Court centers on unapologetic optimist judge Abby Stone (Rauch), the daughter of the late Harry Stone, who follows in her father’s footsteps as she presides over the night shift of a Manhattan arraignment court and tries to bring order to its crew of oddballs and cynics, most notably former night court prosecutor Dan Fielding (Larroquette).

Villafañe will play Monica, the court’s assistant district attorney. Type A, superficial and tightly wound. Monica sees the night court as a stepping stone to bigger and better things. She’s above this place and all the people in it, but it’s a good way to get some courtroom experience under her belt. It’s all part of her plan to land a job at one of the big firms. Thirty will be here before she knows it and if she’s not wildly successful by then…well it’s best not to think about it.

Villafañe is recurring on the final season of Younger, which streams on Paramount+.

She has also recurred on two NBC/Universal Television series, drama New Amsterdam and comedy Sunnyside.

On stage, Villafañe originated the role of Gloria Estefan in the Broadway production of On Your Feet and starred throughout the musical’s entire 2014-2017 run, winning the 2015 Theatre World Award for Best Actress.

She later starred as Nina Rosario in the Kennedy Center’s 2018 production of In the Heights and made her off-Broadway debut in MCC’s Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties in 2018. She is a two-time Drama League Award nominee for On Your Feet and Collective Rage.

Moreno Among the Recipients of This Year’s Kennedy Center Honors

Rita Moreno continues to rack up the honors…

The 83-year-old Puerto Rican actress, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award at last year’s SAG Awards, has been announced as one of recipients of this year’s Kennedy Center Honors.

Rita Moreno

Each year, the Kennedy Center recognizes a select group for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts with the primary criterion in the selection process being excellence. Honorees are chosen by the center’s board of trustees.

Moreno, a Grammy, Oscar, Golden Globe and Tony Award winner, will be honored along side Star Wars patriarch George Lucas, actress Cicely Tyson, songwriter Carole King, conductor Seiji Ozawa and the Eagles.

Moreno, who recently guest-starred on the CW’s Jane the Virgin, has previously received the Library of Congress Living Legends Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a National Medal of Arts and the Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

The event, a fundraiser for the Washington, D.C. arts center, will take place on December 6. CBS will broadcast the star-studded event on December 29.

Santana Named One of This Year’s Kennedy Center Honorees

Carlos Santana is being celebrated for his American influence…

The 66-year-old Mexico-born musician has been selected as one of the honorees for the 36th annual Kennedy Center Honors.

Carlos Santana

Recipients are recognized for their lifetime contributions to American culture through the performing arts – whether in dance, music, theater, opera, motion pictures or television – and are selected by the Center’s Board of Trustees.

“From his legendary performance at Woodstock to his sweep at the 2000 Grammys and beyond, Carlos Santana’s artistry transcends genres while entertaining millions,” says Kennedy Center Chairman David M. Rubenstein.

In 2003 Rolling Stone listed Santana at number 20 on the magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. He’s won 10 Grammy Awards and three Latin Grammy Awards.

In addition to Santana, actress Shirley MacLaine, pianist/singer/songwriter Billy Joel, opera singer Martina Arroyo and pianist/band leader/composer Herbie Hancock will also be honored.

“The Kennedy Center celebrates five extraordinary individuals who have spent their lives elevating the cultural vibrancy of our nation and the world,” said Rubenstein.

The annual event at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has been broadcast on CBS every year since its debut 36 years ago.

This year’s broadcast will air on Sunday, December 29, from 9:00 – 11:00 pm ET.

Longoria to Host Latino Inaugural Concert

Eva Longoria is preparing to host a huge pachanga to celebrate President Obama’s inauguration.

The 37-year-old Mexican-American actress and political activist, a co-chair for Obama’s inauguration, is hosting a Kennedy Center concert honoring Latino arts and culture during inaugural weekend.

Eva Longoria II

The $300-per-head event will take place on January 20 and will feature José Feliciano, George Lopez, Mario Lopez, Rita Moreno, Chita Rivera and others.

The event is part of “Latino Inaugural 2013,” a three-day series of lectures and cultural activities in Washington, DC.

“Latinos played a critical role in this year’s elections and helped tip the scales in President Obama’s victory,” said Longoria, a national co-chair of Obama’s 2012 campaign. “But we are not waiting another four years to make an impact on our country’s future, and Latino Inaugural 2013 will set a path for Latino civic engagement in the near term,” she said in a statement. “What better way to establish our presence at these inaugural celebrations than by showcasing the beauty and diversity of our culture at the nation’s premier performing arts center.”

The Latino inaugural gathering is driven in part by organizers of The Futuro Fund, which helped mobilize Latino support for the Obama-Biden re-election campaign. Millions of Hispanic voters turned out with 71 percent support for Obama. Republican candidate Mitt Romney‘s 27 percent Hispanic support was less than any presidential candidate in 16 years, drawing calls for Republicans to rethink their approach to Latinos.