Legendary performer Rita Moreno was interviewed for the Interstate Documentary Project while she was in Houston to appear in a lecture series called Unique Lives & Experiences presented at Jones Hall.

Ms. Moreno, best known for her academy award winning role in West Side Story, is the only performer to have won all four of the most prestigious show business awards, an Oscar, Emmy (2), Grammy, and Tony Award. Most recently, Ms. Moreno has appeared in the HBO series OZ and the PBS series American Family.

Rita Moreno was also instrumental in saving the Interstate Plaza Theatre in El Paso from the wrecking ball in 1985. She volunteered to headline a fundraiser in the theater that was able to raise over one million dollars. The money went to purchasing the building and repair its roof, so that the city would have more time to raise full restoration funds.

Ms. Moreno spoke for the documentary about her love of historic theaters and her remembrances of attending movie performances in the early days of the grand movie palaces in New York City. She recounted that the show would often begin with a newsreel, a short subject, the movie, and then a stage act like the comedy team of Martin & Lewis (that's Dean & Jerry)... before they had ever been in a movie. She reminded us that long before there were comedy clubs, it was the movie theaters that were the training grounds and only venues for stand-up comedians.

In fact, Bob Hope got his start in show business, not on the silver screen, but on the stages of the Interstate Theatres Circuit as a stand-up comic.

© 1996 - 2006 Io Communications. All Rights Reserved.