The Ritz written by Terrence McNally and performed on Broadway in 1975 earned Rita Moreno a Tony Award for her portrayal of Googie Gomez, a third-rate Puerto Rican entertainer with visions of Broadway glory and rave reviews.
The following year the play was turned into a movie with Moreno reprising her role as Googey for which she received a Golden Globe nominations in the comedy category.
The movie today even as dated as it is , is a hilarious comedy set in a gay bathhouse in Manhattan (a comedic take on NYC’s Continental Baths), where unsuspecting heterosexual Cleveland businessman Gaetano Proclo (Jack Weston) has taken refuge from his homicidal mobster brother-in-law, Carmine Vespucci (Jerry Stiller). There Gaetano stumbles across an assortment of oddball characters, including a rabid chubby chaser, go-go boys, a squeaky-voiced detective (Treat Williams), and Googie Gomez, who mistakes him for a famous producer and whom he mistakes for a man in drag. To make matters worse Gaetano’s wife Vivian tracks him down and jumps to all the wrong conclusions about his sexual preferences.
If you ever get a chance to see it DO.
In the clip below Googie Gomez (Rita Moreno) sings “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” for the boys at The Ritz followed by the movies theatrical trailer.