OFAM's grand finale concert at Cuthbert Amphitheater each summer is always a special event, but this summer we're in for a special treat: an evening with the incomparable, irrepressible Rita Moreno. Who else to end our 10 day celebration of the great American songbook than with one of the greatest of American singers! In April, 2003, jazz critic Phil Ellwood reviewed her one-woman cabaret show at San Francisco's Plush Room (where she will be performing until just before her appearance at OFAM): "Natural show-folk like Moreno (although no one is really like her) fascinate me in their single-minded concentration and dedication. She's been on the boards for more than 50 years, yet she performs with the enthusiasm of a kid trying out for her high-school musical. Like the best of jazz musicians, she works a song from every angle -- bends the melodies, shifts keys, plays games with rhythms and meters, works off of the harmonic charts and arrangement."
Miss Moreno's recent concerts have featured such classics as the Razaf/Redman standard "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good To You", Oscar & Hammerstein's "If I Loved You", Mercer/Philippe-Gerard beauty "When The World Was Young", Nat Cole's "Errand Girl For Rhythm", and, of course, the Fields/McHugh hit "On The Sunny Side of the Street". She will be backed by Dick Hyman, percussionist Ted Sommer, Ken Peplowski on clarinet and Dick's OFAM Big band.