Nevada Ballet Theatre (NBT) announced today that the 2019 Black & White Ball will mark its milestone 35th Anniversary by honoring Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award-winning performer, Rita Moreno as its “Woman of the Year” (Photo credit: Mark Hill).
Moreno joins an extensive list of nationally-renowned female icons who have been feted over the past 35 years by the Las Vegas-based Ballet Company for their artistic achievements, philanthropic contributions and connection to Las Vegas. Moreno will accept this honor on Saturday, January 26, 2019 at ARIA Resort & Casino.
National treasure and triple threat Rita Moreno remains one of the most active celebrities in show business today. From her Broadway debut at the age of 13, to her portrayal as “Anita” in the famed 1961 film West Side Story, her triumphant 70 year career includes countless credits on stages both sides of the Atlantic, over 40 film credits including The King and I and Singin’ in the Rain; and an immense resume of television roles and appearances including the renowned children’s series, The Electric Company.
In addition to her support of minority youth and women’s health issues, Moreno has utilized her celebrity to become a voice for racial equality. She has earned numerous awards including America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Kennedy Center Honor for her lifetime achievements in the arts and contributions to American Culture.
“We salute the 35th Anniversary of the Black & White Ball by continuing our tradition of honoring remarkable female luminaries such as the one-and-only Rita Moreno. We are in awe of her immeasurable talent, inspired by her strength of character and we applaud her deep commitment to basic human rights,” said NBT Co-Founder and Board Co-Chair Nancy Houssels. “As a champion for the arts, women, and people everywhere, we are thrilled to recognize the artistic achievements of this brilliant advocate, activist and humanitarian.”
Moreno currently stars in the Latino remake of Norman Lear’s classic sitcom, One Day at a Time on Netflix and lends her voice to the character “Abuelita” on NBC-TV’s Sprout Network hit animated series, Nina’s World.
With a rich history of honoring female pioneers beginning in 1985 with Elaine Wynn, the Black & White Ball has grown to become one of Las Vegas’ preeminent society and fashion events. An array of famed actresses, dancers, singers and comedians have been recognized through the years including Celine Dion, Rita Rudner, Marie Osmond, Priscilla Presley, Mitzi Gaynor, Florence Henderson, Debbie Allen, Olivia Newton-John and Vanessa Williams. Most recently, the culinary arts were celebrated when NBT recognized the achievements of famed chef and author, Giada De Laurentiis in 2018.
Funds raised from the event support NBT’s professional company productions at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts; its affiliated school, the Academy of Nevada Ballet Theatre; and Education and Outreach programs for at-risk youth that serve over 20,000 students a year.