Rows of black plastic chairs filled a small area between walls of bookshelves at Books & Books in the Gables Friday night. On display behind the smart podium sat a row of books with a black and white photo of a beautiful young woman on the cover: Rita Moreno: A Memoir. Moreno was waiting in the hallway behind heavy velvet curtains, and when she finally appeared, she commanded the attention of every single person in the room.
Loud applause carried Moreno to the podium as she waved and blew kisses to the intimately sized crowd. Moreno is petite, but at 81-years-old, she's as fiery as ever. With her gray hair spiked up and wearing a skin-tight orange-red dress, Moreno could have fooled anyone that she was still in her 60s.