The Palladium \/\/ Friday, Dec. 6, 8 p.m. November 2019 Rita Moreno belongs to an elite group of only 15 living performers who have won entertainment\u2019s grand slam of the industry's most prestigious awards: the Oscar, the Emmy, the Tony and the Grammy (acronym: EGOT). She is exclusive in this group of her peers for having also been awarded the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, the Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American culture and a Peabody\u2014which she was awarded just this year. Moreno is also a New York Times bestselling author. While the folks in the \u201cindustry\u201d figure out the proper acronym for Moreno\u2019s awards, let us review some highlights of her stellar career that earned her these accolades. Moreno was born Rosita Dolores Alverio in Humacao, Puerto Rico. At age 5, she moved to New York City with her mother, where the precocious child soon began dance lessons. She made her Broadway debut at just 13 in \u201cSkydrift,\u201d starring Eli Wallach. Then, in true Hollywood tradition, a talent scout spotted her and arranged for the teen to meet MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer, who signed her to a film contract. Her Hollywood career advanced steadily, including early films with stars such as Richard Widmark, Esther Williams, Mario Lanza, Susan Hayward, Tyrone Power and Gary Cooper. She appeared in the delightful \u201cSingin\u2019 in the Rain\u201d starring Gene Kelly and was featured as Tuptim in the classic \u201cThe King and I\u201d with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr. After her Academy Award for \u201cWest Side Story,\u201d Moreno was acknowledged as a major big-screen talent. Significant film appearances include \u201cThe Night of the Following Day\u201d with Marlon Brando in 1967, with James Garner in \u201cMarlowe,\u201d as Alan Arkin\u2019s girlfriend in \u201cPopi\u201d and in Mike Nichol\u2019s production of \u201cCarnal Knowledge.\u201d Moreno went on to appear in more than 40 feature films and countless TV shows, most recently the acclaimed reboot of \u201cOne Day at a Time\u201d on Netflix. Prior to that, Moreno appeared in guest-starring roles on primetime TV series such as \u201cGetting On,\u201d \u201cJane the Virgin,\u201d \u201cGrey\u2019s Anatomy\u201d and \u201cGrace and Frankie.\u201d Her Oscar came in 1962 when she starred as the Latina spitfire Anita in \u201cWest Side Story,\u201d for which she also won the Golden Globe. The Tony win was for her 1975 comedic triumph as Googie Gomez in Broadway's \u201cThe Ritz.\u201d The Grammy was for her 1972 performance on \u201cThe Electric Company Album,\u201d based on the long-running children's television series. She won not one but two Emmys\u2014the first for a 1977 variety appearance on \u201cThe Muppet Show\u201d and the following year for a dramatic turn on \u201cThe Rockford Files.\u201d Over the decades, she collected dozens of other show business awards, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1995. Moreno has guest-starred on a wide variety of television productions in the U.S. and abroad. She is proud to have been a featured artist for many years on \u201cThe Electric Company,\u201d the highly regarded educational show for children. She starred in her own TV series based on the film \u201c9 to 5.\u201d Additionally, she played opposite Burt Reynolds in \u201cB.L. Stryker.\u201d In 2007, she starred in the CBS series \u201cCane,\u201d and most recently she was one of the leads in the highly acclaimed HBO series \u201cOz.\u201d In addition to film, stage, television and concert commitments, Moreno fills her spare time by lecturing to various organizations and university audiences. She is also involved with a number of civic and charitable organizations and events. Expect standards from the \u201cAmerican Songbook\u201d and stories from Moreno\u2019s stellar career at her performance at The Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. For tickets, visit thecenterpresents.org. I\u2019m giving away my age now, but my first memory of you was on the PBS show \u201cThe Electric Company.\u201d Why was doing educational shows like that one important to you? Wasn't that a genius thing? It was a service for the community\u2014I mean, essentially, that\u2019s what we were doing on these shows. Your background as an immigrant from Puerto Rico who moved to NYC as a child gives you firsthand insight into the sacrifices and hardships that are made when trying to assimilate and live their "American Dream". Please share with our readers how your life in America began.\u00a0 I came from Puerto Rico when I was 5 years old because my mother felt that life was going to be a lot better there for us in NYC at the time. She divorced my father who was a philanderer, but she did something that was very interesting and very brave\u2014she left me with my father, his new wife and my grandmother and grandfather, and she took a ship to NYC. She stayed with an aunt in the ghetto apartments and found work as a seamstress in a sweatshop. When she had made enough money, she took a ship, went back to Puerto Rico and brought me to NYC with her. You were on Broadway by the time you were 13. From ages 5 to 13, you had to learn English to speak, let alone sing. How were you able to do it? I learned very quickly that language was extremely important and that in order to express your feelings\u2014particularly if you were unhappy\u2014you have to learn the words. So, it was sink or swim, and I just chose to swim. You just do it, you know? You worked with some incredible casts and productions, such as the \u201cKing and I\u201d and \u201cSingin\u2019 in the Rain.\u201d When you look back at that now, what are some of the thoughts you have about that time in your career? \u201cSingin\u2019 in the Rain\u201d is still one of my favorite movies ever. That and the movie that I'm in called \u201cThe Four Seasons\u201d are two of my favorite movies. But regarding \u201cSingin\u2019 in the Rain,\u201d I couldn't understand why I couldn't get the lead part. It never occurred to me that I couldn't do something like that. And actually, what was wonderful about \u201cSingin\u2019 in the Rain\u201d was that I was playing a nonspecific person of racial characteristics with Gene Kelly! So, that happened. I thought, \u201cThis is it, and everything is going to be fine,\u201d and of course everything was not fine. I did a lot of little sexy spitfires, Indian maidens and everything but an \u201cAmerican\u201d role. That had to have had an impact on you throughout your career. It had a huge impact! It limited me to what I could do. There is nothing more frustrating! And I remember saying to my agent a couple of times\u2014I would read a script that they had\u2014and would say, \u201cOh, I think I could do that part! Could you set me up for it?\u201d and I asked them to audition me for it, and would come back and say, \u201cThey don't want to see you.\u201d They didn't even want to see me. The name was Rita Moreno, and it was just so frustrating and disappointing. I am so glad those days are over. At what point do you feel that \u201cthose days\u201d were over for you in that sense? You know, they've never really been over, but right now, I'm doing several guest appearances for a show\u2014a sitcom\u2014called \u201cBless This Mess,\u201d which is actually very funny. And I have a character who talks like this . Yep, that's how I talk! I love you on the reboot of \u201cOne Day at a Time\u201d! Isn't it fun? Isn't Lydia hilarious? She is a piece of work! I'm doing my mom's accent, and I just love playing her \u2014she is delicious! You bring to the character of Lydia a certain truth. And that truth is that a woman\u2014at any age\u2014can be vivacious and she can be sexual and strong. Thank you! I love that! That's why I was interested in doing this character. When I was invited to play by Norman Lear\u2014aside from the fact that I wanted very much to work with him\u2014I said to him, \u201cI'd love to do it, but she has to be a sexual being.\u201d At the time, I was 70-something\u2014I'm 87 now, and I'm still playing younger than my age. And I said to them [Lear and the producers], \u201cYou don't go to pieces simply just because you can't bear a child. You can be sexy till the day you die!\u201d and they love the idea of that! What is it about the character \u201cLydia\u201d that you enjoy the most? It's so much fun, and what I love about her is she's an equal opportunity flirter. She'll flirt with a fence post! Would you say that age is truly a state of mind? Absolutely, and you know it\u2019s interesting, young people just think I'm the bee\u2019s knees. For one thing, I've kept up and know the jargon. A lot of young people think I'm very cool, and I still wear leather, but I'm very careful not to wear the kind of clothing that is supposed to make me look young\u2014that's just embarrassing! I do not wear short things, and I do not wear things with my boobs hanging out. It just doesn't feel right, but other than that, I will wear any damn thing I please, and I do! In fact, when I was on the \u201cJimmy Kimmel Show\u201d a few months ago, I came on wearing leather, and everybody just loved it! A lot of people at your point in their careers say, \u201cI've been there, I did it and I\u2019m done.\u201d Why have you kept at it for more than seven decades? You know what? They don't love what they do, but I love what I do! I love to perform. I love to make people laugh. I love to be funny. I love to make people cry. I love to affect people. And if I'm able to do that, then I think that's a real skill and a gift.