#FlashbackFriday - 1976: Rita Moreno As "Googie Gomez" In The Bathhouse Set Movie "The Ritz"

#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.

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

  1. Terrence McNally was a regular at the Club Baths not the Continental Baths and wanted to write a play about the Baths. He based it on the Club Baths and the Continental so he could use The live entertainment angle which the Club Baths never had. When I saw the play and The movie it bothered me that at the end it turned out that the Baths were mob owned, because I owned the Club Baths and I was not Mob, I was a gay guy, none of the Baths in New York City were owned by the mob. Terrence was a very talented and funny man, and a very good friend of our manager Bob. The Ritz turned out to be a fun play and movie.

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