The Daily Distraction: Everything's Coming Up Rita Moreno in Terrence McNally's The Ritz

Video   The Daily Distraction: Everything's Coming Up Rita Moreno in Terrence McNally's The Ritz
 
Toast the late, great playwright with Googie Gomez, direct from her Fiddler on the Roof bus-and-truck.

These are frightening times, and we all must take necessary precautions as we social distance and self-isolate. That being said, you deserve a break every now and then. Welcome to Playbill's Daily Distraction.

Day 8: And heeeere's Googie!

Bathhouses are an absolute no-go right now, but that doesn't mean you can't experience some world class entertainment from the singular Googie Gomez.

The character was crafted by EGOT winner Rita Moreno and immortalized in The Ritz, the 1975 camp farce from the late Terrence McNally. As we mourn the recent loss of the playwright, make your day a little brighter with this clip from the film adaptation, in which Moreno reprised her Tony-winning performance.

READ: The Theatre Community Remembers Terrence McNally on Social Media

During the rendition of the Gypsy showstopper "Everything's Coming Up Roses," the West Side Story and One Day at a Time star makes being bad look so good. From the eccentric inflection ("eh-starting here, eh-starting now"), to the heel flying off and subsequent limping, to the glorious high note in the rafters, each and every beat nests a comedic gem.

As legend has it, Moreno was doing Googie before she even had a name. The character originated from a bit the performer would do to entertain James Coco when they appeared together in Neil Simon's Last of the Red Hot Lovers. "I coughed, I burped, and out came this crazy Puerto Rican," she said in an interview. Later, at a party, Coco had Moreno show McNally the character, and she performed "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and the Player King monologue from Hamlet. And thus, Googie was born.

"She still makes me laugh," she recalls. "And she made Terrence McNally laugh."

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