Saturday, August 1, 2015

A is for Adiós: María Retires From 'Sesame Street'

A is for Adiós: María Retires From 'Sesame Street' After 44 Years

Though she's more accustomed to hearing "Can You Tell Me How To Get to Sesame Street?" the question Sonia Manzano is responding to more these days is "You've retired from Sesame Street?"

Yes, sweet María, TV wife of Luis, with whom she runs the Fix It Shop on America's best known street, Sesame Street, is exiting the stage of Big Bird, The Count and Elmo and many other Muppets, where counting and learning new words and life lessons is done in song and skit.
After 45 years on Sesame Street, @SoniaMManzano will no longer appear on the next season. #alaac15
— American Libraries (@amlibraries) June 29, 2015
For Manzano, the number is 44. She's been with the show since the 1970s and has been bantering with Oscar the Grouch, picking out objects that are not like the others, and teaching generations of children, and some adults with the hearts of children, some words in Spanish.
Sonia Manzano, who played "María" on Sesame Street
An actor and television writer who has won multiple Emmys, Manzano is Puerto Rican and was born in New York. She was one of the first Latinas on television and in her time on the show it has evolved to include Spanish-speaking muppets such as Rosita.

She saw her role in the show as key to helping children learn about racial tolerance and exposing them to kids of many backgrounds.
"In 1969, Latinos were invisible in American culture," Manzano told NBC Latino in a 2012 interview. "We weren't on television and we weren't in children's books, something I remember clearly. There were no children's or young adult's books dealing with Latin life at all."

The interview focused on the release of her first novel, "The Evolution of Evelyn Serrano," a book for young adults and teens, that focused on a Puerto Rican girl who dismissed her culture until she was exposed to the work of the Young Lords, a group of young Puerto Rican men who fought for social justice and more resources for Latino communities.

"My personal evolution included bringing cultural ideas to Sesame Street and eventually writing bits myself; writing, writing, writing always with Hispanic culture in mind," she said in the interview.
@SoniaMManzano is retiring from Sesame Street. Our profound gratitude for representing! #Latinas
— Pa'lante Latino (@PalanteLatino) July 2, 2015
News of her departure was announced Monday by American Libraries which featured Manzano as a conference speaker, but the news trickled out Wednesday and led to a flood of tweets with fans expressing her effect in their lives.

Manzano didn't leave without dropping a little chisme (gossip).
First,that she has another book due out soon:
Take a peak. MIRACLE ON 133RD ST. Coming out soon...
— Sonia Manzano (@SoniaMManzano) June 30, 2015
And then, that she may have married Luis, but ....
@Mbtoon05 @sesamestreet @OscarTheGrouch I have always been in love with Oscar The Grouch!
— Sonia Manzano (@SoniaMManzano) July 1, 2015
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Suzanne Gamboa
Suzanne Gamboa
Topics Latino
First Published

Sonia Manzano


Sonia's Biography

In 1974, a teenager named Maria moved to Sesame Street, into an apartment above Gordon and Susan's.

She flashed her infectious smile, got a job at the lending library, and immediately became part of the family.
Viewers have watched Maria grow up. She was a first crush, a best friend, and a baby sitter, telling stories and making everyone laugh. She dated and then married Luis, and they later had a daughter, Gabi, who is now grown up. Maria and Luis own and run the Fix-It Shop, specializing in toaster repair.

In addition to acting on the show, Sonia writes for Sesame Street. As of 2007, she has received fifteen Emmy awards. Many of Manzano's scripts are based on her own life experiences; when she was pregnant with her daughter, her pregnancy was incorporated into the show's plotline.
Manzano starred in the original production of the off-Broadway musical Godspell. She has contributed to NPR's Selected Shorts series and performed in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. Manzano attended New York City's High School of the Performing Arts and holds an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Notre Dame University. She was inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame in 2004.

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