Rita Moreno to Be Honored at This Year’s Academy Museum Gala

Rita Moreno is earning special icon honors…

The Academy Museum will host its fourth annual star-studded gala on October 19, with the 92-year-old Puerto Rican Emmy, Oscar, Tony Award and Grammy-winning (EGOT) actress, singer and dancer among this year’s honorees.

Rita Moreno,Moreno is among a roster of honorees that includes Paul Mescal and Quentin Tarantino.

The fundraising event will celebrate the museum’s third anniversary and help raise funds to support museum exhibitions, education initiatives and public programming.

Moreno the Icon Award, celebrating an artist whose career has had a significant global cultural impact.

She has performed on stage and screen in a career spanning over eight decades, including her Oscar-winning turn as Anita in West Side Story.

Moreno is one of the last remaining stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Mescal will receive the Vantage Award, honoring an emerging artist or scholar who is helping to contextualize and challenge dominant narratives around cinema; Tarantino the Luminary Award, given to an artist whose singular contributions have expanded the creative possibilities of cinema.

The gala is being co-chaired by Dr. Eric Esrailian, Salma Hayek PinaultNicole KidmanEva Longoria and Tyler Perry.

“The Academy Museum Gala celebrates the power, global impact, and indelible importance of cinema, and I am thrilled we can gather for a fourth year and honor these three amazing artists — Rita Moreno, Quentin Tarantino and Paul Mescal — whose groundbreaking achievements, filmmaking influence, and demonstrated versatility will continue to inspire generations of artists and filmmakers,” said incoming Academy Museum director and president Amy Homma said in a statement. “We are profoundly grateful to Rolex for their continued support of the museum and cinema worldwide, our co-chairs Dr. Eric Esrailian, Salma Hayek Pinault, Nicole Kidman, Eva Longoria, and Tyler Perry for hosting this special evening.”

The Academy Museum Gala has quickly become one of Hollywood’s most A-list events, at last year‘s ceremony toasting Meryl Streep, Michael B. Jordan, Oprah Winfrey and Sofia Coppola and raising more than $10 million in the process.

The 2024 Academy Gala Host Committee, also announced on Monday, includes Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Amy Adams and Darren Le Gallo, Jon Bernthal, Orlando Bloom, Sterling K. Brown, Ruth E. Carter, Jon M. Chu, Kieran Culkin, Willem Dafoe, Ariana DeBose, Colman Domingo, Winston Duke, Kirsten Dunst & Jesse Plemons, Cynthia Erivo, Emerald Fennell, Sally Field, Nicholas Galitzine, Jennifer Garner, Ariana Grande, Ludwig Göransson, Regina Hall, Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson, Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell, Brian Tyree Henry, Cord Jefferson, Dwayne Johnson, Rashida Jones, Regina King, Zoë Kravitz, Jessica Lange, Jude Law, Jennifer Lawrence, Greta Lee, Demi Moore, Niecy Nash-Betts, Josh O’Connor, Ke Huy Quan, Questlove, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Eddie Redmayne, Saoirse Ronan, Meg Ryan, Celine Song, Denis Villeneuve, Lulu Wang, Jeffrey Wright, Letitia Wright, Steven Yeun and Hans Zimmer.

Rachel Zegler to Star in New Broadway Production of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo + Juliet” This Fall

Rachel Zegler has landed a star-crossed starring role…

The 22-year-old half-Colombian American Golden Globe-winning actress will star opposite Kit Connor in the new Broadway production of William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet this fall.

Rachel Zegler, Kit ConnorDirected by Tony Award winner Sam Gold, the production will feature music by Grammy winner Jack Antonoff and movement by Tony winner Sonya Tayeh. 

The production should not be confused with yet another high-profile revival of the star-crossed lovers = the West End production of Romeo & Juliet starring Tom Holland and Francesca Amewudah-Rivers, which also is eyeing a Broadway staging. Jamie Lloyd directs that one.

The Gold fall production will mark the Broadway debuts of Connor, Zegler and Antonoff, who in February won his third consecutive Grammy Award for Producer of the Year.

More information including theatre, dates, design team and additional casting will be announced at a later date.

“With the presidential election coming up in November, I felt like making a show this fall that celebrates youth and hope, and unleashes the anger young people feel about the world they are inheriting,” said Gold.

Tickets will go on sale to the public in May.

Official synopsis: “The youth are fucked. Left to their own devices in their parents’ world of violent ends, an impulsive pair of star-crossed lovers hurtle towards their inescapable fate. The intoxicating high of passion quickly descends into a brutal chaos that can only end one way.”

Zegler earned a Golden Globe for her performance in West Side Story.

Ariana DeBose to Host Tony Awards for Third Consecutive Year

Ariana DeBose is heading back to Broadway for a special night…

The 33-year-old half-Puerto Rican Oscar-winning actress, singer and dancer will return as host of this year’s Tony Awards, marking her third consecutive year fronting Broadway‘s biggest night.

Ariana DeBose,The 77th Annual Tony Awards airs live nationwide (8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT) on Sunday, June 16, on CBS, streaming on Paramount+.

The ceremony will take place at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

DeBose, an Oscar winner (West Side Story) and previous Tony nominee (Summer: The Donna Summer Musical), will serve as a Tony producer and will choreograph the opening number for this year’s show.

“I couldn’t pass up the chance to host the Tonys one more time, at Lincoln Center,” DeBose said in a statement. “I’m excited to collaborate with the team to create an incredible celebration of this season’s achievements on Broadway for our community and for everyone at home.”

“Ariana’s unique sense of artistry, creativity and talent continues to elevate the show and captivate nominees and viewers alike,” shared Heather Hitchens, president and CEO of the American Theatre Wing and Jason Laks, interim president of the Broadway League. Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner, executive producers for White Cherry Entertainment, said, “The third time is definitely going to be a charm for a host who is as charming and insanely talented as Ariana DeBose.”

Tony organizers also announced today that CBS and Pluto TV will once again partner to present The Tony Awards: Act One, the pre-show of live, exclusive content leading into awards ceremony. Act One, available on Pluto TV, includes the presentation of a first round of Tony Awards. Hosts and further details will be announced in the coming weeks.

This year’s Tonys will recognize and honor the Broadway productions of the 2023- 2024 theater season. Nominations will be announced on Tuesday, April 30.

The Tony Awards are produced in collaboration with Tony Award Productions, a joint venture of the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, and White Cherry Entertainment.

Ariana DeBose to Star in Universal Pictures’ “With Love”

Ariana DeBose is embracing a new love

The 33-year-old half-Puerto Rican Oscar-winning actress, singer and dancer will star in 87North’s With Love for Universal Pictures.

Ariana DeBose,DeBose will star opposite Ke Huy Quan in the film, which Universal Pictures will release in wide release on Friday, February 7, 2025.

The film is written by Josh Stoddard, Luke Passmore and Matthew Murray. Guy Danella is also producing for 87North.

Making his feature film directing debut on With Love is acclaimed veteran stunt coordinator and fight coordinator Jonathan Eusebio.

Plot details are being kept under wraps.

DeBose’s previous credits include her star-making role in West Side Story, which earned her an Oscar, Golden Globe, SAG Award and BAFTA, as well as Prom, Schmigadoon! and Wish.

Bad Bunny to Serve as Presenter at This Year’s Academy Awards

Bad Bunny has a date with Oscar…

The 29-year-old Puerto Rican Grammy-winning superstar has been added to the list of presenters for this year’s Academy Awards show.

Bad BunnyBut the “Monaco” singer is not the only Puerto Rican artist set to take the stage.

West Side Story star Rita Moreno, an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony Award) winner, will also serve as a presenter.

Bad Bunny and Moreno are among the list of recently added presenters for the March 10th Oscars telecast that includes Chris Hemsworth, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Keaton, Regina King, Jennifer Lawrence, Kate McKinnon, John Mulaney, Catherine O’Hara, Octavia Spencer and Ramy Youssef.

Moreno won an Oscar in 1962 for West Side Story. In 1977, she became the first Latina (and just the third person overall) to complete the EGOT.

In 2022, Bad Bunny made history when Un Verano Sin Ti became the first Spanish-language album to top Billboard’s year-end chart and to receive a Grammy nod for album of the year. His acting credits include Bullet Train, Narcos: Mexico and Cassandro,

Earlier this week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced that another popular Latin star, Becky G, would perform the nominated “The Fire Inside” from Flamin’ Hot on the telecast.

Previously announced Oscars presenters are Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, Jamie Lee Curtis, Brendan Fraser, Jessica Lange, Matthew McConaughey, Lupita Nyong’o, Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ke Huy Quan, Sam Rockwell, Michelle Yeoh and Zendaya.

The 96th Oscars will air live on ABC and broadcast to outlets worldwide on Sunday, March 10, at the new, earlier time of 7:00 pm ET/4:00 pm PT.

Jimmy Kimmel is hosting the show for the fourth time. It will be held at its usual home, the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood.

Raj Kapoor is executive producer and showrunner for the 2024 Oscars. Molly McNearney and Katy Mullan are also executive producers. Hamish Hamilton is directing. Rickey Minor is music director.

Rita Moreno to Star in the Indie Horror Thriller “Theirs”

Rita Moreno is preparing to scare up a new audience…

The 92-year-old Puerto Rican award-winning actress, dancer and singer has been cast in Theirs, an indie horror thriller going into production in Tulsa, Oklahoma this summer.

Rita Moreno,But she isn’t the only Latina artist joining the project.

Roselyn Sanchez, who most recently starred in the Fantasy Island reboot,

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican singer-songwriter, dancer, model, actress, producer and writer and Moreno will star alongside Harvey Keitel and Udo Kier in the project.

Written by Juan Pablo Reinoso and to be directed by Sonja O’Hara, the film centers on a mother who, after a lifetime of grappling with abusive men and a bitter divorce, finds hope for herself and her teenage daughter in a new home, only to quickly find their newfound freedom tested by malicious secrets within its walls.

Keli Price will produce for his Price Productions, alongside Reinoso for LookBook, and David Bond for Dark Elegy Films. Tom Biolchini will serve as the film’s executive producer.

Recent credits for EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar & Tony Award) winner Moreno include dark comedy The Prank, out March 15, as well as Fast X, Netflix’s Family Switch80 for Brady and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, to name a few.

Most recently starring on the Fox series Fantasy Island, Sanchez has also been seen in prominent roles on shows like Grand HotelDevious Maids and Without a Trace.

Krysta Rodriguez & Fellow “Smash” Cast & Crew to Mount Fully Staged & Choreographed Workshop This Month

Krysta Rodriguez is one step closer to smashing it on Broadway again…

Smash, the stage musical adaptation of the NBC musical series of the same name starring the 39-year-old Latina actress/singer and Broadway star, is set to take another major step in its march to Broadway.

Krysta Rodriguez,The cast and crew will gather for six weeks starting this month to mount a fully staged and choreographed workshop, with an orchestra, culminating in five performances for recruited audiences.

The new Susan Stroman-directed musical, inspired by the NBC TV series, is slated for Broadway in the 2024-25 season.

In addition to Rodriguez, who starred on the original television series as Ana Vargas, the workshop cast includes Brooks Ashmanskas, Alex Brightman, Yvette Nicole Brown, Bella Coppola, newcomer Nihar Duvvuri, Casey Garvin, Robyn Hurder, Kristine Nielsen and Jonalyn Saxer.

The full company includes Wendi Bergamini, Giovanni Bonaventura, Jim Borstelmann, Zachary Downer, Tiffany Engen, Ashley Blair Fitzgerald, Megan Kane, Caleb Marshall-Villarreal, Connor McRory, JJ Niemann, Tanairi Sade Vazquez, Brian Shepard, Sarah Sigman, Jake Trammel and Katie Webber.

Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who wrote songs for the series, also handle the score for the Smash musical, which will feature tunes from the TV show as well as new material. Book writers are Bob Martin and Rick Elice.

The musical is produced by Steven SpielbergRobert Greenblatt and Neil Meron.

“Bob, Steven and I are thrilled to take this next big development step on the road to bringing ‘Smash’ where it was always meant to be: a Broadway theater,” Meron tells me. “Not a week goes by when someone doesn’t tell us how much they loved the original series, and it’s time to pull back the curtain on how we’re transforming this show into a funny, joyous stage musical.”

Greenblatt adds, “This workshop/rehearsal process will give the creative team a chance to get reactions from real theatergoers who will experience it for the first time in a theater setting. We’re so fortunate to be working with this fantastic cast of Tony and Emmy nominees, and it will be exciting to see the show on its feet, fully staged by Susan Stroman and choreographed by Josh Bergasse.”

Rodriguez’s previous theater credits include Cabaret, Into the Woods, West Side Story, Spring Awakening and The Addams Family.

“The Color Purple,” Starring Colman Domingo, Tops Box Office on Christmas Day

It’s a Purple reign for Colman Domingo this Christmas

The Color Purple, a vibrant adaptation of the book-turned-beloved-film-turned-hit-Broadway-musical and starring the 54-year-old Belizean-Guatemalan American actor and social justice activist, dominated at the box office on Christmas Day.

Colman Domingo,The film has outperformed expectations with $18 million from 3,152 North American theaters. It’s the largest Christmas Day opening for a film since 2009, and the second-biggest Christmas Day opening of all time.

Those ticket sales were enough to lead the way on Monday ahead of two other newcomers, Neon’s racing drama Ferrari and director George Clooney’s inspirational sports story The Boys in the Boat.

Boosted by positive reviews and a glowing “A” CinemaScore, The Color Purple marks the first musical in some time that’s resonated at the box office. The film, backed by Warner Bros. and directed by Blitz Bazawule, collected more in a single day than recent stage-to-screen stories — including West Side Story ($10.5 million), In the Heights ($11 million), Dear Evan Hansen ($7.5 million) and Cats ($6.6 million) — earned in their opening weekends.

The Color Purple benefitted by premiering on Christmas Day, one of the most popular days of the year for moviegoing. But this is a promising start for the $100 million-budgeted musical, which should benefit from word of mouth in the coming days.

“The Color Purple” looks to remain the de facto choice for families over the remainder of what has otherwise been a lackluster holiday season. American Idol winner Fantasia Barrino brings to life the trials, tribulations and triumphs of Celie, a Black woman living in Georgia in the early 1900s. Taraji P. Henson, Danielle Brooks, Domingo as  Albert “Mister” Johnson, and Halle Bailey round out the cast.

Josh Andrés Rivera to Star as the Late Aaron Hernandez in FX’s “American Sports Story” Anthology Series

Josh Andrés Rivera is hitting the football field…

The 28-year-old Puerto Rican actor will star in the first installment of Ryan Murphy’s American Sports Story anthology series for FX.

Josh Andrés RiveraRivera will portray the late former NFL star Aaron Hernandez in the season that’s based on the podcast Gladiator: Aaron Hernandez and Football Inc. from the Boston Globe and Wondery.

Rivera’s co-star will be Patrick Schwarzenegger as fellow former NFL star Tim Tebow.

The first installment charts the rise and fall of NFL superstar Hernandez and explores the connections of the disparate strands of his identity, his family, his career, his suicide, and their legacy in sports and American culture.

Tebow and Hernandez were longtime friends going back before their time in the National Football League. They were onetime teammates at the University of Florida, where they won the 2008 SEC Championship and went on to beat Oklahoma for the BCS Championship title. Tebow was known for looking out for Hernandez while on the team, including protecting Hernandez from being kicked off over marijuana use and helping to diffuse a situation in a bar when Hernandez got into an altercation with the bar manager. The two first met when Tebow hosted Hernandez on a recruiting trip to UF before he graduated high school.

Both castings were completed in early 2023, prior to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, but were never confirmed by FX.

“We have a fairly complete set of scripts for American Sports Story by Stu Zicherman,” FX chairman John Landgraf said back on January 12, noting at the time that the series is “heading toward production.”

That was delayed by the WGA strike, which started in May, and the SAG-AFTRA strike, which has been going on since July.

American Sports Story, one of two new offshoots in Murphy’s “American Story” franchise alongside American Love Story, is a scripted anthological limited series focusing on a prominent event involving a sports figure and re-examines it through the prism of today’s world, telling that story from multiple perspectives.

Rivera next stars in The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. He recently played Chino in Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of West Side Story. He notably performed in the original company on the first national tour of Hamilton.

Lionsgate Releases New Trailer for Rachel Zegler’s Hunger Games Prequel “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”

Rachel Zegler is fighting for her life…

Lionsgate has unveiled a new trailer for its The Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, which teases the 22-year-old half-Colombian American Golden Globe-winning actress/singer’s fight for survival in the arena.

Rachel Zegler,The West Side Story actress stars as Lucy Gray Baird, the female District 12 tribute to the 10th Hunger Games, in the new film based on the books by Suzanne Collins, which launches in theaters November 17th.

Starring alongside Zegler is Tom Blyth, who portrays Coriolanus Snow, Baird’s mentor in this game of survival who finds himself torn between his duties to the Capitol and Head Gamemaker Dr. Volumnia Gaul (Viola Davis) and burgeoning feelings for his mentee.

It’s the annual reaping ceremony of the 10th annual games, set 64 years before the first film. Lucy represents impoverished District 12 and 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is her unwilling — at first — mentor. He’s much more conflicted in his views in this film, decades before he becomes Panem’s tyrannical president. “There have been some changes this year,” he is told. “Your role is to turn these children into spectacles, not survivors.”

But after Lucy commands all Panem’s attention by defiantly singing during the reaping ceremony, Snow thinks he might be able to turn the odds in their favor. Uniting their instincts for showmanship and newfound political savvy, Snow and Lucy’s race against time to survive ultimately will reveal who is a songbird and who is a snake.

Like the previous films, themes here are freedom and tyranny, good and evil, how both can co-exist and why people chose one over the other. “There is natural goodness built into all a us. We can step across that line into evil — or not,” says Lucy. Panem is full of cranes and construction — rebuilding a decade after a brutal civil war.

The prequel in the $3 billion-grossing global franchise will hit theaters around the world on November 17. Hunger Games franchise sequel producer Francis Lawrence directed and also will produce with the series producers Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson.