Rita Moreno Turns 90 as New 'West Side Story' Debuts in Theaters 60 Years After the Original

Rita Moreno celebrated her 90th birthday on Saturday, a day after Steven Spielberg's West Side Story debuted in theaters

Rita Moreno
Rita Moreno. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty

Rita Moreno is busier than ever as she rings in her 90th birthday.

The Oscar winner celebrated among her close family and friends on Saturday, a day after Steven Spielberg's West Side Story — which she co-produced and stars in — landed in theaters.

Taking place at her home in Berkeley, California, a representative for Moreno tells PEOPLE it was an "intimate gathering" that was smaller than normal amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The rep says that the party was composed of 14 of the star's closest friends and family members, including author, Amy Tan.

All the guests took turns roasting Moreno during a Mediterranean-themed chef-catered dinner, the rep adds.

Rita Moreno Turns 90 as New West Side Story Debuts in Theaters 60 Years After the Original
Rita Moreno

Prior to that, Moreno held a pre-birthday tea at the Crosby Street Hotel in Soho, New York, for her east coast friends while she was in Manhattan for the premiere of West Side Story in late November.

According to Moreno's rep, the event was hosted by the star's daughter, Fernanda Fisher. Guests included Kate Lear, Dr. John LaPook, 60 Minutes' Bill Whitaker, journalist David Black, artist Barbara Nessim, Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It producer Brent Miller, Moreno's two grandsons Justin and Cameron Fisher, and longtime publicists Judy Katz and Sean Katz.

There, attendees sported T-shirts made by Fisher, 54, that read, "Team Moreno" on one side and "Rockin' at 90," on another.

Rita Moreno Turns 90 as New West Side Story Debuts in Theaters 60 Years After the Original
Rita Moreno

Then, on Sunday, Moreno plans to complete her birthday celebrations with a special screening of West Side Story, which will be hosted by the San Francisco Film Festival at the Castro Theatre. Moreno is set to introduce the film, her rep confirms, and will take part in a Q&A at the conclusion of the movie.

Also Moreno's local theater, The Orinda Theater in Orinda, Calif. changed its marquee to feature a special 'Happy Birthday Rita Moreno' message.

Rita Moreno Turns 90 as New West Side Story Debuts in Theaters 60 Years After the Original
Fernanda Fisher

In a statement to Deadline, Moreno reflected on her milestone birthday and being alive for nine decades.

"It doesn't feel any different. On the face of it, nothing has changed," she explained. "I'm older and deeply grateful for still being here. And inevitably, now there is concern about what's next after West Side Story. And anyone who tells you otherwise is a damn liar."

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Moreno won the Academy Award in 1962, a year after the release of the 1961 original version of the musical film in which she played Anita.

In Spielberg's reimagining of the hit musical, Moreno plays Valentina, the widow of Doc who offers Ansel Elgort's Tony a new chance at life and a job.

Ariana DeBose now stars as Anita opposite newcomer Rachel Zegler as Maria. Moreno and DeBose, 30, spoke about working together on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.

Moreno admitted it was "bizarre" to see DeBose play the part for which she won an Oscar almost 60 years ago.

"She is a beautiful Anita in the movie," Moreno said in the interview. "It was so bizarre because suddenly I was playing another role and she was playing Anita."

RELATED VIDEO: Rita Moreno Recycles Her 1962 Oscars Dress 56 Years Later for the 2018 Academy Awards

When Holt asked DeBose if she was in "awe" of Moreno, she answered, "Oh, absolutely."

"She means a lot to me. She means a lot to the Puerto Rican community, to the Latino community at large, and to the entertainment industry at large," DeBose continued.

The actress, who has also starred in The Prom and Hamilton, said she didn't try to play Moreno's version of Anita in the new Spielberg reimagining of the iconic musical.

"I was very adamant that whatever interpretation I delivered for this performance was massively different," she said. "But by virtue of being a Black woman that makes it a different portrayal."

rita moreno and ariana debose
Silver Screen Collection/Getty; Niko Tavernise / © 20th Century Studios / Courtesy Everett

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In November, DeBose revealed that Moreno had offered her a tip for portraying Anita, saying, "She told me, 'Niña, I'll tell you anything you want to know.' "

"She empowered me, encouraged me to do my own thing," DeBose said. "She did tell me one note, but I won't tell you what it was."

DeBose did share, however, "She said, 'I think there's more power in a different delivery,'" adding, "I took the note, it was a good note."

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