- via NPR
Rita Moreno — the only Latino performer to win an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony — is reprising some of her most memorable characters in a solo show at the Berkeley Repertory Theater. Up the coast in Los Angeles, John Leguizamo, who co-starred opposite Al Pacino in Carlito’s Way and voiced Sid the sloth in the animated Ice Age films, is performing another of his acclaimed solo shows. And while their Hollywood success came 40 years apart, the two say they encountered many of the same hurdles.
“When I got the part, I thought, ‘Dear God,’ because she sings, ‘island of tropic diseases,’ and I thought, ‘I can’t say that about my beautiful little island,’ ” Moreno explains from her home in the Berkeley Hills. “Island of tropic diseases? Whew!”
There were other issues, too. Co-directors Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins wanted a big contrast between the warring gangs, the Sharks and the Jets.
“So the white kids had to have their hair bleached and have extra-pale makeup,” Moreno recalls, “and we had to wear all one-color makeup, almost the color of mud — and it felt like it. We all had to have accents — many of us who were Hispanic did not have them. I asked the makeup artist, ‘Why do we have to be one color? Because Hispanics are many different colors.’ ”
Still, Moreno says she’s grateful for the role that earned her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar.
Read full article at NPR.com.