Rosie Perez to Take Part in “Stars in the House” Telethon to Benefit Victims of the War in Ukraine

Rosie Perez is helping raise money for the people of the Ukraine

The 57-year-old Puerto Rican Oscar-nominated actress is among an all-star roster of film, television and theater performers who’ve signed up for a 10-hour telethon to raise money for the victims of the war in Ukraine.

Rosie PerezEntitled “Stars in the House,”the special will air on Saturday, March 26 from noon-10:00 pm Eastern.

In addition to Perez, the other celebrities scheduled to appear on the telethon include Steve Martin, Annette BeningBilly PorterAudra McDonald, Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Chenoweth, David Hyde Pierce, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy and Andrea Martin, as well as Tituss Burgess, Kelli O’Hara, Donna Murphy, Annaleigh Ashford, Jessie Mueller, Josh Groban, Judith Light, John Stamos, Lindsay Mendez, Laura Benanti, Norman Lear, Betty Buckley, Mandy Patinkin, Rachel Bloom, Patrick Wilson, Shoshana Bean, James Monroe Iglehart, Brittney Johnson, Santino Fontana, Judy Kuhn and Norbert Leo Butz.

The event also hopes to feature Ukrainians, including Oleg Karpenko, a Ukrainian theater and film actor who co-starred with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Servant of the People.

The special can be viewed and listened to on the series’ site, the Stars in the House YouTube channel, as well as SiriusXM Stars109.

Donations made during the event will benefit the International Rescue Committee and its humanitarian efforts for those affected by the war in Ukraine.

Stars in the House is a live-streamed concert series created by SiriusXM Broadway host Seth Rudetsky and producer James Wesley that has raised over $1 million for the Actors Fund’s COVID-19 relief program and other nonprofits.

It’s just one way the theater community has tried to help Ukrainians: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS awarded $300,000 in emergency grants to ameliorate the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and a portion of ticket sales for “The Minutes” will go to Save the Children’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund.

Amazon Releases Trailer for Desi Arnaz & Lucille Ball Documentary “Lucy and Desi”

Desi Arnaz’s life with Lucille Ball is getting the documentary treatment…

Amazon has unveiled the trailer for Lucy and Desi, a documentary film from director Amy Poehler.

Desi Arnaz & Lucille BallThe doc is set to debut exclusively on Prime Video on March 4, after its well-received January premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

Lucy and Desi features interviews with Lucie Arnaz Luckinbill, Norman Lear, Desi Arnaz Jr, Carol Burnett and Bette Midler and explores the unlikely partnership and enduring legacy of one of the most prolific power couples in entertainment history, Ball and Arnaz.

The Hollywood power couple risked everything to be together—their love for each other, leading to I Love Lucy, the most influential show in the history of television.

Desi—an immigrant from Cuba who lost everything in exile—became a bandleader, and eventually a brilliant producer and technical pioneer. Lucille came from nothing and, with an unrivaled work ethic, built a career as a model, chorus girl and eventually as an actor in the studio system. She found her calling in comedy, first in radio.

When Lucille was finally granted the opportunity to have her own television show, she insisted that her real-life spouse, Desi, be cast as her husband. Defying the odds, they reinvented the medium, on the screen and behind the cameras. The foundation of I Love Lucy was the constant rupture and repair of unconditional love. What Lucy and Desi couldn’t make work with each other, they gave to the rest of the world.

Mark Monroe wrote the film.

It’s the second in recent memory to spotlight the story of Ball and Arnaz following Aaron Sorkin’s Being the Ricardos, starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, which has been nominated for Oscars in the categories of Best Actress (Kidman), Actor (Bardem) and Supporting Actor (J.K. Simmons).

Juan Pablo Di Pace to Make Feature Directorial Debut with LGBTQ+ Romantic Drama “For Another Time”

Juan Pablo Di Pace is heading behind the lens…

The 42-year-old Argentine actor and singer will make his feature directorial debut with For Another Time, an LGBTQ+ romantic drama inspired by true events in his life.

Juan Pablo Di PaceDe Pace’s film will be executive produced by television icon Norman Lear and his Act III Productions partner Brent Miller.

For Another Time is a coming-of-age story that follows Matías, a queer filmmaker who gets an unexpected invitation to revisit the family that forever influenced his past, forcing him to question the present while potentially changing his future.

Production on the film, set in Duino, Italy and Buenos Aires, Argentina, will kick off on February 26.

Di Pace will play the present-day version of Matías, with another as-yet-undisclosed actor to play a younger version.

Casting for additional roles is underway. Andres Pepe Estrada will co-direct and serve as the film’s editor.

Di Pace is producing under his Momento Films banner with Kristen Carroll, founder and CEO of SpoPro/Spotlight Productions and Immaterial Media.

“There’s a sacred tenderness in falling in love for the first time, often an all-encompassing event we can never reprise once it ends,” said Di Pace. “I wanted to explore the idea of memory and how we romanticize it, sometimes blinding our path to love in the present.”

“There’s no better backdrop for a love story—of any kind—than one that takes place in Italy,” said Lear and Miller in a joint statement. “We’re thrilled to support Juan Pablo’s vision of bringing a multicultural connection, regardless of age, gender or race, to the big screen. And we couldn’t be prouder to support independent film and those who are making it.”

“The buying power of the LGBTQ+ population—two thirds of them in the targeted 18-34 age range—is $1 trillion, second only to the 50+ demographic for disposable income, and they are clamoring for stories and quality productions that reflect their experiences and lifestyles,” added Carroll, whose production company SpoPro specializes in LGBTQ+ and diversity-forward programming. “We are excited to bring this inventive and nuanced story of love and self-discovery to a global audience.”

Di Pace, who competed on Dancing with the Stars, most recently starred as Kimmy Gibbler’s estranged husband, Fernando, on Fuller House, a spin–off series of Full House.

Producers Guild to Honor Rita Moreno with Stanley Kramer Award

Rita Moreno is earning yet another honor…

The Producers Guild will present the 90-year-old Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer with the 2022 Stanley Kramer Award at the 33rd annual PGA Awards, set for March 19 at the Fairmont Century Plaza.

Rita MorenoThe honor goes to a production, producer or other individuals “whose achievement or contribution illuminates and raises public awareness of important social issues.”

Moreno, an EGOT winner, will join previous recipients including Jane Fonda as well as Get Out, Loving, Fruitvale Station, The Normal Heart, Bombshell, The Hunting Ground, An Inconvenient Truth and Hotel Rwanda.

Kramer’s work included such iconic films as Inherit the Wind, On the Beach, The Defiant Ones and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.

“With grace, intelligence, charisma, and kindness, Rita Moreno made her mark in history as a brilliant entertainer and leveraged that star power to shepherd stories that tap into the human experience and represent people and communities we rarely see celebrated in film and TV,” PGA presidents Gail Berman and Lucy Fisher said Wednesday. “Beyond her on-screen contributions, she has used her unmistakable voice to hold a mirror to the prejudices and inequities that she so often experienced throughout her career. Her activism, strength, and artistic contributions set the precedent for how to be a changemaker in Hollywood, and it is our great honor to present Rita with the Stanley Kramer Award this year.”

Moreno most recently appeared and executive produced Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story after winning an Oscar for the original film, the latest in a seven-decade career that began with her Broadway debut at 13. She has appeared in more than 40 feature films and countless TV series including most recently Norman Lear’s remake of One Day at a Time. Her documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It had its world debut at Sundance Film Festival last year.

Moreno previously received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama, the SAG Life Achievement Award, the Peabody Career Achievement Award and a Kennedy Center Honor.

“The last thing I ever dreamed of in my young life was being honored in any circumstance,” Moreno said. “That the Producers Guild of America has chosen to honor me not only for my work but for the principles I have tried to uphold and live by throughout my life is so gratifying. I am thrilled.”

Critics Choice Association to Honor Rita Moreno at Inaugural “Celebration of Latino Cinema”

It’s a special celebration for the legendary Rita Moreno

The 89-year-old Puerto Rican actress, dancer and singer will be honored alongside Lin-Manuel Miranda and Demián Bichir at the Critics Choice Association’s inaugural Celebration of Latino Cinema.

Rita MorenoMoreno, Miranda and Bichor will be honored alog with a group of additional honorees, many associated with upcoming 2021 films, still to be announced.

The Celebration of Latino Cinema, to be presented virtually, will take place on Thursday, December 9, 2021 and aims to put a spotlight on the contributions of great Oscar-winning and -nominated artists like Moreno, Miranda and Bichir, but also Latino filmmaking in general, a facet of the motion picture industry that doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves during awards season.

Among other things, the CCA’s Celebration of Latino Cinema aims to change that.

“We are thrilled to be launching the first annual Celebration of Latino Cinema which recognizes the talented performers and skilled professionals who create the acclaimed films we are so proud to honor,” said Claudia Puig, a CCA member and co-programmer of the event.

“Films by our honorees represent the diverse and multi-faceted Latino community, and reflect our increasingly inclusive industry” said CCA board member and event co-programmer Clayton Davis.

The Celebration of Latino Cinema will be produced by Madelyn Hammond and Javier Infante of Madelyn Hammond & Associates. Stagedge will be responsible for transforming the show into an immersive virtual experience.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will be donated to LA Collab, whose mission is to accelerate Latino access, visibility and representation in the entertainment industry.

Moreno has won all four of the most prestigious awards in show business: an Oscar, a Tony, two Emmys, and a Grammy. She recently co-starred in the Latinx reimagining of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom One Day at a Time, and her documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It had its world premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival before being released in theaters; it will be broadcast on PBS’ American Masters in October. Moreno also co-stars in and executive produces Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story.

She is a recipient of the Peabody Career Achievement Award, a Kennedy Center Honor, the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts.

Miranda is a Pulitzer-, Grammy-, Emmy– and Tony Award-winning songwriter, actor and director, and creator and original star of Broadway’s Hamilton and In the HeightsA recipient of the MacArthur Foundation Award, a Kennedy Center Honor and the Portrait of a Nation Prize, he received an Emmy with Tom Kitt for their song “Bigger” from the 67th Tony Awards. Upcoming projects include Disney’s Encanto and his directorial film debut, tick, tick… BOOM!

Bichir received a Best Actor Oscar nomination in 2012 for his role in Chris Weitz’s A Better Life, becoming the first Mexican-born actor to be nominated in that category by the Academy since Anthony Quinn in 1957. He more recently received rave reviews for his performance in the film Land, directed by Robin Wright. His film credits include Steven Soderbergh’s Che, Oliver Stone’s Savages, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills, Paul Feig’s The Heat, Richard Shepard’s Dom Hemingway, Ridley Scott’s Alien, George Clooney’s The Midnight Sky, and Adam Wingard’s Godzilla Vs. Kong.

Rita Moreno to Star in the Feature Film “The Prank”

Rita Moreno is pranking around…

The 89-year-old Puerto Rican actress, singer and dancer, an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony Award winner) has landed a starring role in the feature film The Prank, which will be directed by Maureen Bharoocha.

Rita Moreno

Moreno will star opposite Connor Kalopsis and Ramona Young.

The Prank follows two high school students who play a prank on their physics teacher, Mrs. Wheeler, played by Moreno. When she fails them on a test; they teach the imperious, demanding, insulting instructor a lesson by falsely accusing her of the murder of a missing student.

Other cast in The Prank includes Keith David, Meredith Salenger, Jonathan Kimmel, Nathan Janak and Kate Flannery.

Filming begins this month in and around Los Angeles.

The dark comedy is written by Rebecca Flinn-White & Zak White.

“Rita Moreno is a force of nature and an icon who continues to redefine herself,” said Bharoocha. “Her brilliant comedic mind lends itself to the perfect ‘Mrs. Wheeler’, a character we have never seen her play, and one that will no doubt surprise audiences.”

Moreno has won an Oscar (West Side Story), a Tony (The Ritz), two Emmys (for her turns respectively in 1977 and 1978 on The Muppet Show and Rockford Files), and a Grammy (Best Children’s Album for The Electric Company).

Moreno has starred on Broadway and London’s West End, appeared in more than 40 feature films and has performed in numerous regional theaters, including her one-woman show, Life Without Makeup, at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She recently co-starred in the critically acclaimed Latinx reimagining of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom One Day At A Time.

Her documentary, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, produced by Lear, Lin Manuel Miranda and Brent Miller had its world debut at the Sundance Film Festival this year. The film, which was met with acclaim from critics and audiences alike, will have its television debut on PBS’ American Masters nationwide on October 5.

Moreno also co-stars and is an executive producer of the Steven Spielberg remake of West Side Story, set to open on December 10.

The recipient of the Peabody Career Achievement Award and the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American culture, she was also honored by her peers as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

Moreno’s all-Spanish-language album, Una Vez Más, was produced by her good friend Emilio Estefan, and she is a New York Times bestselling author with her first book, Rita Moreno: A Memoir. Moreno has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama.

Roadside Attractions Acquires North American Rights to Rita Moreno’s Documentary “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided To Go For It”

Rita Moreno is ready to bring her life story to America…

Roadside Attractions has acquired North American distribution rights to the 2021 Sundance Film Festival documentary Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided To Go For It, about the 89-year-old Latina living legend.

Rita MorenoA release is planned for June 18.

Roadside’s deal excludes the television license to PBSAmerican Masters, which will present the exclusive U.S. broadcast premiere of the doc after it hits theaters.

In addition to Moreno, others featured in the Mariem Pérez Riera-directed doc include George Chakiris, Héctor Elizondo, Gloria Estefan, Tom Fontana, Morgan Freeman, Mitzi Gaynor, Whoopi Goldberg, Norman Lear, Eva Longoria, Justina Machado, Terrence McNally, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Karen Olivo.

The film covers Moreno’s 70-year-plus career rise and struggles, from her beginnings in poverty on a Puerto Rican farm to becoming a rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscars, Tony Awards) winner.

She’s the first Latina actress to win an Oscar (for her role as Anita in 1961’s West Side Story). Despite the win, studios continued to offer Moreno lesser roles as stereotypical ethnic minorities, ignoring her proven talent.

“Roadside Attractions, I’m so pleased for your commitment to my story and especially for making it available to a broader audience. Curtain Up!,” Moreno commented.

“Stars like Rita are few and far between, her showbiz story and personal remembrances resonate for a large, diverse audience, and the heights she continues to achieve are a true crowd pleasing uplift after the year we’ve all had,” said Roadside co-presidents Howard Cohen and Eric d’Arbeloff.

“Rita is an incredible inspiration to so many, hers is a success story for all women who feel alone as they struggle to assert themselves with courage and bravery against heavy odds,” offered director Pérez Riera. “We are so thrilled to bring Rita to theaters for audiences to spend time with a woman who, when speaking about herself, speaks to and for a lot of us.”

“There were only a small group of distributors we hoped would take notice at Sundance. Roadside was at the top of that list,” said film’s producer, ACT III’s Brent Miller and EP Norman Lear. “We think we’re in great hands with Howard and Eric at the helm and couldn’t be more excited for the world to know the Rita we now know and love.”

American Masters Pictures and Act III Productions in association with Artemis Rising and Maramar Films are producers.

Chita Rivera Among the Stars Taking Part in Fundraising Concert for Joe Biden, “In Our America: A Concert for the Soul of the Nation”

Chita Rivera is Biden her time before the upcoming presidential election…

The 87-year-old half-Puerto Rican Broadway star will be among the stars of the Great White Way who’ll stage a fundraising concert for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, with plans to stream the event on October 21.

Chita Rivera

The event, which starts at 8:00 pm ET, is organized by the group Broadway for Biden and is called In Our America: A Concert for the Soul of the Nationwith donations going to the Biden Victory Fund.

In addition to Rivera, the lineup of the concert includes Derrick Baskin, Laura Benanti, Victoria Clark, Glenn Close, Chuck Cooper, Darren Criss, André De Shields, Renée Elise Goldsberry, John Goodman, Jayne Houdyshell, Jennifer Hudson, James Monroe Iglehart, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Norman Lear, Norm Lewis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Rita Moreno, Karen Olivo, Ashley Park, Steven Pasquale, Carrie Preston, Kelani Queypo, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Phillipa Soo, Ephraim Sykes, BD Wong, the Broadway Dreams Foundation Choir, and the casts of Six and KPOP.

Liesl Tommy, director of the upcoming Aretha Franklin biopic Respect (with Hudson in the lead role), will direct the show. Tommy is the executive producer along with Julie Boardman, Nolan Doran, Halle Morse, and Jennifer Mudge.

The concert will stream on YouTube via news publisher NowThis, on Facebook via Broadway for Biden and NowThis, and on Broadway Unlocked.

In a statement, Tommy said, “It is a tremendous honor to direct this incredible collective of performers and artists, who are coming together to amplify the promise of Broadway and a nation that are future-looking, accessible, and deeply inclusive.”

The evening will include original material, stagings of musical numbers that have never been seen, and previews of productions bound for Broadway. Among those contributing are Chad Beguelin, Tony Kushner, Lynn Nottage, Robert O’Hara, Stacey Rose, Aurin Squire, DeLanna Studi, Paula Vogel and John Waters.

Christopher Gattelli, Lorin Latarro, Ray Mercer, and Abbey O’Brien will provide original choreography, with music direction by Jason Michael Webb. Chris Boardman and Charlie Rosen will provide orchestrations. Sean McLaughlin will serve as director of photography and Grady Bowman will be associate choreographer.

The event is in the vein of a fundraiser in 2012 for Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, called Barack on Broadway, that was produced by Margo Lion and others.

AFI to Honor Rita Moreno During This Year’s Virtual AFI Fest

Rita Moreno is ready to talk shop as part of a special night…

The 88-year-old Puerto Rican Oscar, Golden Globe, Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress will be honored during this year’s virtual AFI Fest, which will take place from October 15-22.

Rita Moreno

Moreno, who currently stars on PopTV’s One Day at a Time, will be honored alongside Sofia CoppolaKirby Dick and Mira Nair, with each taking par t in an evening of conversation celebrating their careers.

“Artists of this caliber are essential players in our global culture,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President & CEO. “To honor each of them – and all of them – at AFI FEST will prove a symphony of talent at a time the world needs it most.”

Moreno’s career began with a Broadway debut at 13 years old. Since then she has won all four of the most prestigious awards in show business – an Oscar, a Tony, two Emmys, and a Grammy – as well as a Peabody Award and a Kennedy Center Honor. Moreno has also been recognized with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.

Moreno received an Honorary Degree from the AFI Conservatory in 2016.

Moreno is starring in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, which will debut in theaters in December of 2021. She currently stars on the remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, One Day at a Time. 

Gloria Calderón Kellett Teams Up with Natasha Rothwell for the HBO Max Film “We Were There, Too”

Gloria Calderón Kellett is There

The 45-year-old Latina television writer/producer, the co-creator and showrunner of Pop TV’s One Day at a Time has joined forces with Natasha Rothwell for We Were There, Too, a coming of age feature for HBO Max.

Gloria Calderón Kellett

Rothwell, a writer and star on HBO’s Insecure, co-wrote the screenplay with Calderón Kellett. 

They’ll produce the project with Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter.

The film is a classic 80’s coming of age story set in John Hughes’ Chicago, but in this story the Brat Pack is in the background, and for the first time the focus is on the Brown kids, the LGBTQ kids, the Black kids, the real outsiders, because they were there, too.

Calderón Kellett currently serves as co-creator, co-showrunner, executive producer, director and actress on the critically acclaimed One Day At A Time, the reimagining of the classic 1970s sitcom from Norman Lear that moved from Netflix to Pop TV this season. She recently began a major overall deal with Amazon Studios.