Ednita Nazario is ready for her New York homecoming.
It’s been more than a decade since the Puerto Rican singer last performed in the city. This Saturday, she’ll take to the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts stage in the Bronx, pulling from her prolific catalog, before leading Sunday’s Puerto Rican Day Parade as the grand marshal.
Nazario has been the godmother of the parade before, but “this is the biggie,” she says. “So I’m super happy and super honored to be a part of [the] celebration of our culture and our identity. I like to call it in-your-face Puerto Ricanism, it’s quite impressive.”
The singer splits her time between Miami and San Juan, but New York is special for her. Discovered by a New York agent singing in Puerto Rico nightclubs, the Ponce native and teen sensation came to NYC at 16 to perform at the former Persian Room at the Plaza Hotel in the early 1970s.
“It was the Plaza at its highest glory, it was a beautiful room, very important people played it,” recalls Nazario. “I have very fond memories of that. It was quite impressive for me, coming from a little town in Puerto Rico.”
That was Nazario’s first time in New York, and since then she’s performed at what she calls her “triple crown”: Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and on Broadway, in the 1998 musical “The Capeman.”
“When I go back to New York, it just feels like home,” Nazario says. “It feels very familiar and very immediate to my heart. Probably in another life I was in New York.”
IF YOU GO Ednita Nazario performs at the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts on June 11 at 8 p.m. | 250 Bedford Park Blvd. W., Bronx | 718-960-8833, lehmancenter.org | tickets starting at $38