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The Rich and Fascinating History of Puerto Ricans on Broadway

Puerto Ricans have influenced New York culture for years, and their footprint is nowhere more prominent than it is on the Broadway stage. Although Puerto Ricans officially became US citizens in 1917 with the passage of the Jones-Shrofth Act, the “Great Migration” from PR to NYC truly started in the 1950s with the advent of commercial airline travel. After this initial influx of migrants, the Puerto Rican population of New York City skyrocketed to 12% of the city’s total population.

Naturally, with the sudden and stark change in demographics, New York City’s culture experienced a change too. This change was never more apparent than in the rise of the “Nuyorican” movement, a class of performers, artists and writers who embraced both the American and Puerto-Rican sides to their identity. Like many of the newcomers to New York City before them, on Broadway, Puerto Rican performers revealed themselves as forces to be reckoned with. It is there, on the Great White Way, that this group of actors proved to America that Latinos have as much talent as their white counterparts.

1. Chita Rivera

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Chita Rivera is arguably the most successful Latina–let alone, Puerto-Rican–to ever grace a Broadway stage. This seven-time Tony-nominated, two-time Tony-winner began her Broadway career in the musical “Call Me Madam” in 1951. However, it was her performance originating Anita in the original Broadway production of “West Side Story” that cemented her status as a Broadway icon. She has since appeared in almost 40 productions on stage, received the Kennedy Center Award in 2002 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009.

2. Rita Moreno

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No introduction is necessary for the ultra-talented, legendary actress of stage and screen Rita Moreno. Although Moreno is probably best-known for her work as Anita in the film adaptation of “West Side Story”, she also has a successful career in theater. In 1975, she earned a Tony Award for her portrayal of Googie Gomez in the stage play, “The Ritz”. She truly is a living legend. She, too, has been awarded a Kennedy Center Award and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

3. Raúl Juliá

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Best known for playing Gomez in the “The Addams Family” films, Juliá was actually a very well-respected stage actor nominated for multiple Tony Awards before he made the leap to the Silver Screen. He started acting career appearing in plays in Puerto Rico, but soon moved to New York City to try his hand at Broadway. He quickly found success as a celebrated Shakesperian actor, appearing in plays such as “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”, “King Lear”, “As You Like It”, and “The Taming of the Shrew”.

4. Diosa Costello

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Puerto-Rican born actress Diosa Costello is notable for being the first ever Latina to star in a Broadway play, the 1939 musical “Too Many Girls” with Cubano Desi Arnaz. Dubbed “The Latin Bombshell” (how original) by the press, Costello never received super-stardom because she was “reluctant” to take her career to Hollywood.

5. Olga San Juan

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For her incredible work in 1951’s “Paint Your Wagon”, Olga San Juan was the first ever Latina to receive the prestigious Donaldson Award, an award given by the New York theater community for excellence on stage. San Juan even experienced minor mainstream success in hit Hollywood films such as “Blue Skies” and “Variety Girl”.

6. José Ferrer

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Puerto Rican actor José Ferrer was renowned for his portrayal of the famous unlucky-in-love character Cyrano de Bergerac. In fact, Ferrer won a Tony Award in 1947 for his critically-acclaimed performance.

7. Míriam Colón

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Míriam Colón was part of the groundbreaking class of “Method” actors that rose to prominence in the 50s and 60s. Colón became the first Puerto Rican actor accepted into the Actors Studio after she impressed co-founded and visionary Elia Kazan with her audition. Later, she acted as founder and director of the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater in New York City that still exists today.

8. Lin Manuel Miranda

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Of course, we can’t continue this list without mentioning Lin Manuel Miranda–the Patron Saint of Puerto Ricans on Broadway. After establishing himself in the Broadway world with his hit Latinx-centric musical “In the Heights”, Miranda further cemented his place in the annals of Broadway history by writing and starring in the Broadway blockbuster “Hamilton” (you may have heard of it).

9. Anthony Ramos

You may know him as Lady Gaga’s BFF in “A Star is Born”, but Nuyorican actor Anthony Ramos actually got his start playing (and originating) the dual roles of John Laurens and Philip Hamilton in “Hamilton”. When “Hamilton” won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, Ramos held up the Puerto Rican flag during the acceptance speech.

10. Ednita Nazario

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Although Ednita Nazario is primarily known as being a singer, this Puerto Rican powerhouse made waves in the theater community with her performance in the short-lived 1998 musical “The Capeman”. Although the musical faced harsh criticism, Nazario herself earned a Drama Desk Award for her performance

11. Josh Segarra

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Actor of Puerto Rican descent Josh Segarra graduated NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a degree in theater. Afterward, he quickly made a name for himself by originating the role of Emilio Estefan in the hit Broadway musical based on Gloria Estefan’s life “On Your Feet!”.

12. Luis Salgado

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Puerto Rican performer Luis Salgado is a respected choreographer who had much to do with the stunning dance visuals of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s “In the Heights”. He’s appeared in musical productions of “Rocky” and “On Your Feet!”. Of being a Puerto Rican actor on Broadway, Salgado says: ““The funny thing is that they still ask Puerto Rican actors: ‘Do you have documents to work here?’ There’s so much one wants to reply to that question…”

13. John Leguizamo

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Already a famous Hollywood actor, John Leguizamo took his talent to the Great White Way with “Latin History for Morons”, a critically-acclaimed play he wrote and starred in. The play was nominated for a 2018 Tony for Best Play.

14. Ariana DeBose

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Ariana de Bose is an actress from Texas of Afro-Puerto Rican descent. Her Broadway credits include “Bring It On”, “Motown: The Musical”, “Hamilton” and “A Bronx Tale”. You’ll definitely be seeing de Bose more in the future, as she’s set to play Boricua Anita in the new movie adaptation of the “West Side Story” musical.

15. Jimmy Smits

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Jimmy Smits made history when he appeared in the 2003 play “Anna in the Tropics” that premiered at the prestigious El Royale theater. Along with fellow Poricua performer Priscilla López, Smits was part of an all-Latino cast that he (rightfully) called a “historic moment”.

16. Priscilla Lopez

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Tony-Award winning singer, dancer, and actress Priscilla Lopez is best known for originating the role of Latina hopeful Diana Morales in “A Chorus Line” (a play notably written by fellow Nuyorican Nicholas Dante). According to Lopez, the character of Diana was based off of Lopez’s own life: “For many years, I felt guilty because I was working on Broadway while many other fellow Latino actors were not.”

17. Josie de Guzman

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Legendary actress of Puerto Rican descent Josie de Guzman is notable for being handpicked by composer Leonard Bernstein to play Maria in the 1980 Broadway revival of “West Side Story”. She earned a Tony Award nomination for her acclaimed performance. You can still catch her lighting up the Broadway stage once in a while.

18. Paola Lazaro

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Paola Lazaro is a Puerto Rican playwright whose career is “dedicated to relating to Latinxs everywhere”. She most notably wrote the Dascha Polanco-starring off-Broadway production “Tell Hector I Miss Him

19. Ruben Santiago-Hudson

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Journeyman actor of Afro-Puerto Rican descent Ruben Santiago-Hudson is best known for his 1996 Tony Award-winning performance in August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars”.

20. Robin de Jesús

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Robin de Jesús is a Nuyorican two-time Tony nominee for his acclaimed performances in “In The Heights” and “La Cage aux Folles”. According to de Jesús, he was inspired to get into musical theater when his high school drama teacher told him he’d “never make it” because he was “too short and Hispanic”. Looks like he proved her wrong!

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Cardi B’s First Leading Movie Role Will Thrill ‘Sister Act’ And ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ Fans

Entertainment

Cardi B’s First Leading Movie Role Will Thrill ‘Sister Act’ And ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ Fans

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For one of her upcoming projects, fans of Cardi B can expect a throwback to her older days. That’s right, Cardi B is stepping into a familiar role before the screen. The former “Love & Hip Hop: New York” star has proven herself capable of making music bangers and in Hustlers she showed that she can hold her own when it comes to the big screen.

Now, the rapper is playing the lead in Paramount’s upcoming film Assisted Living.

Cardi was recently cast in the “raucous comedy” called Assisted Living.

According to Variety, the upcoming film “is being described as a ‘raucous comedy’ with ‘tremendous heart.’ Fans of Cardi can expect a film that looks quite a bit like Tootsie, Sister Act, and Mrs. Doubtfire.

The upcoming film follows Cardi B as Amber a small-time crook who gets herself into trouble when a heist goes wrong. “On the run from the cops and her former crew, she struggles to find anywhere to hide, reports Variety. “Running out of options, Amber disguises herself as an elderly woman and hides out in the one place no one will look — her estranged grandmother’s nursing home.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Cardi B has been in a major film.

In 2019 she appeared the blockbuster film Hustlers starring Jennifer Lopez, Lizzo, and Keke Palmer.

And of course, for some time fans were hopeful that Cardi would take on the titular role of a reboot of the ’90s sitcom “The Nanny.”

According to CNN, the reality star-turned-rapper has been in talks to play Fran Drescher’s daughter in a potential reboot of the ‘90s sitcom.

Speaking about a potential reboot in 2018, Fran Drescher told Extra in an interview “[I’m] talking to her representation. It’s really getting me excited. It’s fresh and it could be super fun.” Here’s hoping we get more Cardi B on screen!

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Um Hi, Armie Hammer Dropped Out Of A JLO Movie After Leaked Texts Claimed He’s Into Being A Cannibal And Is 2021 Over Yet?

Entertainment

Um Hi, Armie Hammer Dropped Out Of A JLO Movie After Leaked Texts Claimed He’s Into Being A Cannibal And Is 2021 Over Yet?

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Yes, welcome to 2021. A year whose heels only just hit the ground when Republican extremists terrorized the Capitol building leading to Donald Trump’s impeachment… And oh yeah saw actor Armie Hammer being accused of liking cannibalism. Yes, we said it cannibalism, ya know, an appetite for eating your own kind?

Gossip surrounding the Call Me By Your Name actor and his sex life has become so salacious that the actor announced that he was stepping back from an upcoming movie with Jennifer Lopez.

Armie Hammer announced this week that he will no longer star in the upcoming movie, Shotgun Wedding alongside Jennifer Lopez.

The brewing scandal involving Hammer includes alleged leaked messages related to his sex life.

The leaked messages alleged that Hammer has a thing for fantasies related to rape and cannibalism and was leaked by an anonymous social media account user with the name House of Effie. According to the account, Hammer told a woman that he was “100 percent a cannibal.” Another message suggested that Hammer liked the taste of blood.

“I’m not responding to these bulls–t claims but in light of the vicious and spurious online attacks against me, I cannot in good conscience now leave my children for four months to shoot a film in the Dominican Republic,” Hammer said in a statement to Page Six. “Lionsgate is supporting me in this and I’m grateful to them for that.”

Still, the show will go on for Lopez who will star in the film being directed by “Pitch Perfect” director Jason Moore.

The film will be distributed in the US by Lionsgate and will stream internationally on Amazon Prime. According to Deadline, Shotgun Wedding was meant to see Lopez and Hammer “play a couple who gather their lovable but very opinionated families for the ultimate destination wedding just as they begin to get cold feet about their relationship. If that wasn’t enough of a threat to the celebration, suddenly everyone’s lives are in danger when the entire party is taken, hostage.”

Despite the unconfirmed gossip around him, Hammer still has upcoming projects. These include the thriller, “The Billion Dollar Spy,” and a sequel to the 2017 hit “Call Me By Your Name” in which he played Oliver, a handsome doctoral student.

Its not the first time gossip around Hammer’s love life has caused a stir. In a 2013, Playboy interview Hammer described himself as a “dominant lover” and enjoyed “grabbing women by the neck and hair.”

He later told E! News of the candid Playboy interview, “Don’t drink during an interview.”

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