SIMI VALLEY : Rita Moreno Agrees to Arts Center Dates

Musical star Rita Moreno has tentatively signed on to open the Simi Valley Cultural Arts Center with back-to-back black-tie galas on Nov. 3 and 4, organizers said Tuesday.

Moreno is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the only star to have won all the major U.S. awards for film, television, music and theater.

She won an Oscar for her 1962 portrayal of Anita in "West Side Story" and a Grammy in 1972 for singing on "The Electric Company Album." She also was awarded a Tony in 1975 for playing Googie Gomez in a New York musical called "The Ritz," and two Emmys: one in 1977 for an appearance on "The Muppet Show" and one in 1978 for a role on "The Rockford Files."

Moreno will bring a five-piece band and another dancer to accompany her for the two performances.

David Ralphe, the center's operations director, said he is hammering out the last technical details with Moreno's production company and hopes to seal the artist's verbal agreement by week's end.

The Cultural Arts Commission also has arranged a one-man show of watercolors by Bill Perkins for the center's gallery space. Perkins is a former artist for Walt Disney Studios, who worked as art director on the movie "Aladdin." And the Simi Valley Art Assn. will display some of its members' work in the downstairs gallery spaces.

Tickets for the special performance are very likely to cost about $100 apiece--much higher than the prices that are to be charged for other performances--to cover Moreno's fee and raise money for the arts center, Ralphe said. The price is to be finalized at tonight's meeting of the Cultural Arts Center Commission, he said.

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