As the temporary shutdown of Broadway and theatres around the world continues, Playbill is reaching out to some of our favorite artists to see how they are coping with the self-isolation on a daily basis, both physically and creatively.
The series continues with celebrated actor Rita Moreno, who has left an indelible mark on the field of entertainment. Moreno, who was filming the fourth season of the reboot of the classic TV sitcom One Day at a Time when the pandemic closed theatres and TV and film sets around the country, will also be seen in the upcoming new film adaptation of West Side Story. With the recent addition of the Peabody Career Achievement Award, Moreno has won all of the most prestigious awards in show business: the Oscar, the Tony, two Emmys, and a Grammy. She received The Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime contributions to American Culture and was honored by her peers as the 50th recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award. Moreno was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush and the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama.
What is your typical day like now?
Start with washing my hands for the full 20 seconds, just because… Feed Sarita, my pup. Take her for a long walk. Then commences the battle of the kitchen. I can't seem to get out of it. I've never cooked so much! I've noticed an interesting reaction to spending so much time there and in the house in general: I've lost a lot of my appetite! Eating, like going to the movies, is very much a communal activity, and I'm guessing it's my body and head's reaction to the isolation. Nothing serious, but I usually don't have my breakfast until one or two! I'm also tired of constantly planning menus. Have you heard this from others? If this is a form of depression, it doesn't feel that way because I'm actually grateful for the "free time." I've been engaged in a massive and endless spring cleaning and give away. Something I've been wanting to do for years.
What book/TV show/podcast/film should everyone take the time to consume during this period?
Specific TV series have mesmerized, intrigued, and rendered me a fan for life of the writers and casts. They are Ozark, Unbelievable (fabulous female performances!) and, so far, The Plot Against America. I am a serious admirer of what I consider good writing, and I am truly in awe of what actors can bring to the table! I love them!
What advice would you give to someone who may be struggling with the isolation?
I say, make the phone and FaceTime your friend. There's so much intriguing "stuff" to learn: language, history, facts about everything! Recipes, music, I could go on. This is the one time to genuinely appreciate iPhones and computers! Use 'em!
How are you keeping your creative juices flowing?
Any time, any day: Peter Sellers movies (I still howl at them as though I'd never seen them). Monty Python movies directed by Blake Edwards. Wizard of Oz. I just saw the movie, The Invisible Man, and damn near crapped my bloomers I got so scared! Loved it. I could go on…
Are you working on any projects during this time?
I'm hoping we can eventually go back into the studio and finish taping the rest of Season 4 of One Day at a Time. We shot six episodes, which have been airing on POP TV, and then we all had to go into self-quarantine, so for now my team has been keeping me busy with lots of press requests, and I'm finally conquering Zoom, which is quite a project!