Lovely Rita

September 12th, 2005

Here's how I prepared to interview Rita Moreno, my guest on the first episode of The Josh Kornbluth Show (airing tonight at 7:30 p.m.):

  • Stared incredulously at my producer and gasped, "Rita Moreno is willing to do an interview with me?"
  • Immediately reconfigured my Netflix queue, moving West Side Story and Carnal Knowledge to the top, so I could re-watch them (the former with my family, the latter decidedly without).
  • Called several friends to say, "Guess who I'll be interviewing on the show?"
  • Repeatedly reassured those friends, "No, really." Sometimes adding: "Apparently she lives right here in Berkeley!"
  • Tried unsuccessfully to find The Electric Company on DVD, much to my wife's chagrin.
  • Loudly sang several songs from West Side Story, along with other KQED employees, while riding in the free shuttle van to BART.
  • Was politely asked by my son, sometime late in the evening, how long I expected to be compulsively singing songs from West Side Story.
  • Met Ms. Moreno in the greenroom, noting that she looks approximately 30 years younger than she actually is.
  • Asked her my first question.
  • Immediately fell under her spell.
  • Relaxed.

You know, I could get used to this gig.

Rita Moreno will be performing her cabaret act, "Between Love & Fascination," at the legendary Plush Room in San Francisco from Sept. 20 through Oct. 9. Then, next year, she'll be appearing as Amanda in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre from April 6 through June 4. ...

By the way, while preparing for this interview, I discovered the HBO series Oz (on DVD -- we don't have cable), which I am in the process of becoming addicted to. There are many fine performances -- but Moreno is just amazing in it.

Entry Filed under: tv episodes


  • 1. Bob  |  September 12th, 2005 at 8:33 pm

    What a great interview. You’re a natural.
    Your show promises to be a very bright spot on an otherwise embassingly lackluster local production slate. Finally, KQED is spending some of their riches on truly quality programming.
    How’s that for a backhanded compliment?

  • 2. Jeremy  |  September 12th, 2005 at 8:51 pm

    Congrats on all of this! Any way possible I can see this in New York? :(

  • 3. maurinsky  |  September 13th, 2005 at 6:04 am

    The Electric Company DVD will be coming out early next year.

    I love Rita Moreno. Tell her maurinsky thinks she’s awesome.

  • 4. Blog Gently  |  September 13th, 2005 at 10:16 am

    Great start for the new show Josh, seems like you really settled down, focused and caught up on your interviewing skills. My only criticism would be the bouncy and zoomy camera angles for your intro – I know its popular and trendy but it makes me feel fidgety, and makes my girlfriend feel ill. It was fine after the seated interview began. However we weren’t watching show for camera angles, just Josh.

  • 5. Josh Kornbluth  |  September 13th, 2005 at 6:58 pm

    Thanks so much for your kind comments, everyone!

    Bob, backhanded compliments are my favorite. … Jeremy, maybe, if the television gods are with us, you will be able to see the show in my hometown. … Maurinsky, thanks for the heads-up on the DVD’s — we can’t wait! … And Blog Gently, thanks for following me from my old blog, I R Us.

  • 6. Jeremy  |  September 14th, 2005 at 5:03 pm

    Great show Josh! You Rock!

  • 7. Bryan Kravitz  |  September 17th, 2005 at 10:42 am

    Great Show…a lively change for KQED.

    I like how I can get reminded when your show is on. Is that
    just you or is KQED doing this for all of its shows. It’s a great idea. For those who stay focused on the computer too much
    and have A.D.D. it works perfect.

    Have you lived in Berkeley a long time?

    I may know you from the past.

    Thank you for who you are. I looking forward to your next

  • 8. Josh Kornbluth  |  September 19th, 2005 at 2:13 pm

    Jeremy: Thanks!!

    Bryan: I love the email-reminder feature, too — the folks at KQED never cease to amaze me with their friendly expertise. … As for living in Berkeley, we’ve lived here for a little over eight years — ever since our son was in-utero. (Before that I lived in the Mission District in S.F.) … And as to whether you know me from the past: That wasn’t me — I swear — I have an alibi — I HAVE AN ALIBI!!!

  • 9. Mary Fineman  |  February 5th, 2006 at 10:54 pm

    Is there a mail address or e-mail address I could have to contact Rita Moreno with a question? Thanks.

  • 10. Josh Kornbluth  |  February 7th, 2006 at 4:31 pm

    Hi, Mary — I’m passing along your question to my producer. She’s out of town for a few weeks, but when she gets back hopefully she’ll have some contact info for you.

  • 11. Randy Rodriguez  |  March 21st, 2006 at 8:42 am

    I would like to get in contact with Rita Moreno about helping the Ponce Police force. Please forward me e-mail address to her and I will explain it better then. I am not looking out for hand outs but instead looking to help these people who put their life on the lines everyday with proper support.

    Please help me in helping them.
    Thank you & God Bless

  • 12. Daris  |  April 4th, 2006 at 3:29 pm

    Great Interview!! I love Rita Moreno. She’s my favorite actress. Unfortunately I can’t see this show here in Miami. It’s a great show. I’ve seen some of the interviews here online.

  • 13. James  |  June 20th, 2006 at 4:25 pm

    I just recently purchased “The Best of The Electric Company” 4-disc DVD set and just love it…and I would recommend it to anyone who remembers that great “70s show”. Rita Moreno narrates it–naturally, because she was a part of the cast. I would like to get an e-mail address to contact her so that I could tell her how much I enjoyed her role on TEC. How might I go about this?

  • 14. Elvis E. Netterville ll  |  August 3rd, 2006 at 1:53 pm

    Mrs. Wonderful Rita,
    I just saw West Side Story and I just had to tell you how wonderful you are. Your dancing,singing, and acting just made that movie so totally awesome to watch. WSS has got to be the best musical I have EVER seen. Can it be surpassed??
    You are beautiful,

  • 15. Josh Kornbluth  |  August 5th, 2006 at 10:20 am

    It’s so great to see the great affection that people (rightly) have for Rita Moreno! With regard to the questions regarding contacting her directly, I actually don’t have an answer. Perhaps my producer, Lori, or my Benevolent Webmistress might have some idea? …

  • 16. Tony Wright  |  August 17th, 2006 at 7:27 am

    A message from the UK

    I fell under the spell of Rita Moreno as a 9 year old schoolboy watching West Side Story back in 61.

    Her pouting lips and hip wiggles during the “America” dance routine .. and her line sang in the same sequence .. “you forget I’M in America” still sends shivers down my spine when I watch the DVD 45 years later.

    In my opinion, ignoring all of the analytical crap that sometimes emanates from professional reviewers, WSS, in my opinion was awesome and still leaves me singing the lyrics (to myself) of many of the tracks, which tug at the heartstrings, all those years later. As for Rita Moreno … wow !

  • 17. Luna Gilligan  |  August 27th, 2006 at 11:14 am

    Hi, Josh. I love your show. I would really like to send DVDs of your show to my friend, Amelia, who lives in Vermont, and is unable to watch your show.

    Do you have DVDs which I can purchase for her?


  • 18. benevolent webmistress  |  August 28th, 2006 at 12:23 pm


    Since you can watch all the Josh episodes for free on this site, why don’t you just send your sister here.


  • 19. Glen Thompson  |  November 28th, 2006 at 1:56 pm

    Hello–I’ve been searching for years for a TV movie that Rita Moreno made for Canadian television. It was about a washed-up Hollywood musical comedy star who agrees to take a small part in a small movie and manages to turn the film into a major studio musical starring herself. It was a wonderful piece of work that doesn’t appear on any of her filmographies and I was wondering if you could put me in touch with somebody who might know how I could get some information and, hopefully, a copy of the film. I’m sure you’re not in the business of doing favors for strangers but if you have a single contact that you can pass along I’d be extremely grateful.


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