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#FlashbackFriday – 1976: Rita Moreno As “Googie Gomez” In The Bathhouse Set Movie “The Ritz”

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.

 

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Will Kohler

Will Kohler is one of America's best known LGBT historians, He is also a a accredited journalist and the owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced on such notable media venues as BBC News, CNN, MSNBC, The Washington Post, The Daily Wall Street Journal, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story. Back2Stonewall has been recently added to the Library of Congress' LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive. Mr. Kohler is available for comment, interviews and lectures on LGBT History. Contact: Will@Back2Stonewall.com

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