THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

THE J. W. PEPPER BLOG | DELIVERING MUSIC SINCE 1876

The Music of Rita Moreno, a West Side Story Icon

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Rita Moreno is an incredibly talented Puerto Rican actress, dancer, and singer, most famous for her role as Anita in the 1961 West Side Story film. Throughout her nearly 80-year career, Moreno has played a plethora of phenomenal characters, many of which have allowed her to showcase her vocal talents as well. In honor of Rita Moreno returning for Steven Spielberg’s 2021 West Side Story remake, we wanted to share some of her greatest performance pieces and give you the chance to sing along!

America from West Side Story

America – from West Side Story

Of course, we must include one of the most famous numbers from West Side Story – America. Shark Bernardo and Moreno’s Anita are the featured duo on the song, with the Sharks women playing a large role as well. Both Moreno’s singing and dancing skills are highlighted during this energetic scene. Get all your Sharks together to perform America with this arrangement, available in both SATB and SSA.

 

The Singer's Musical Theatre Anthology - Mezzo-Soprano/Alto

Everything’s Coming Up Roses – from The Ritz

Moreno reprised her Tony-winning performance as Googie Gomez in the 1976 film version of The Ritz. In the film, Moreno’s character Googie tries to impress a man whom she believes is a famous Hollywood producer by performing a, shall we say, spirited rendition of Everything’s Coming Up Roses from Gypsy. This powerful piece can be sung like a headstrong stage mother in Gypsy or a bit goofier like in The Ritz. Altos will love belting this rich piece, available in the mezzo-soprano collection The Singer’s Musical Theatre Anthology.

 

Fever arr. Kirby Shaw for treble voices

Fever – from The Muppet Show

In 1976, Moreno guest-starred on The Muppet Show, performing a must-see cover of Peggy Lee’s Fever with Muppet Animal on the drums. Moreno is both hilarious and fabulous as she takes the stage for this fantastic jazz number, while Animal’s drum stylings leave… something to be desired. Work on your vocals and stage presence with this SSA arrangement of Fever (Animal on the drum set not included).

 

Rita Moreno is a showstopper in every role, and we hope you will enjoy singing some of her great works. Keep an eye out for Moreno in the new West Side Story as she originates the character of Valentina!

 

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