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Sonia Manzano: Misc



Up to date as of February 02, 2010

From Muppet Wiki

1977 CTW shot
Sonia Manzano in Death Wish

Sonia Manzano (b. June 12, 1950) is an actress who has played Maria on Sesame Street since 1971. She also provided the voice of Smart Tina in the Roosevelt Franklin Elementary School segments.

Born in Manhattan to Puerto Rican parents, Manzano attended the High School for the Performing Arts as a teenager. While going to college at Carnegie Melon University, she originated the eponymous role of Sonia in the off-Broadway musical Godspell (appearing on its original cast album as well), and continued to play the role through her first season on Sesame Street. She became part of the increasingly ethnically diverse cast and recalled that "It was such a social force... I never wanted to be on a kids’ show, but I always wanted to be on Sesame Street." [1] In addition to her portrayal of Maria, Manzano showed her versatility in pantomime segments, impersonating Charlie Chaplin, and like other cast members, frequently narrated film inserts.

In the 1980s, Manzano tried her hand at script writing, and has since become a key member of the Sesame Street writing staff, sharing several Emmy awards, and scripting several Sesame videos, including Sesame Street Visits the Hospital. She also wrote lyrics for "Thirteen" and "Don't Be a Tough Nut to Crack." Other writing credits include episodes of the Nickelodeon animated series Little Bill, a parenting column for, an essay in the Marlo Thomas anthology Thanks & Giving All Year Long, and the 2004 children's book No Dogs Allowed. Amongst numerous other awards, including many from Hispanic activist groups, Manzano has received two Emmy award nominations for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Television Series, and received the 2002 Hispanic Heritage Award for education.

Married to Richard Reagan, president of the Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Manzano gave birth to daughter Gabriela Rose Reagan in 1988, a year before Maria gave birth to Gabi. Her real-life daughter played the part in Season 21 and Season 22.

The majority of Manzano's screen acting career has been spent on Sesame Street and related projects (including both Follow That Bird and The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland), plus appearances as herself in Sesame Street Unpaved and A&E Biography: Sesame Street. Her other credits run the gamut, and include bit parts in the Michael Winner action films Death Wish (as a grocery store clerk harassed by Jeff Goldblum) and Firepower (with James Coburn, as a stewardess). In television, she guest starred on B. J. and the Bear starring Greg Evigan (as Chattanooga in the 1981 episode "Snow White and the Seven Lady Truckers") and on Law & Order in the 2004 episode "Hands Free." On stage, she performed in The Vagina Monologues and The Exonerated. On radio, she has been a frequent narrator for the NPR dramatized fiction series Selected Shorts.


  1. AARP- Diversity, Family, Languages: Birds of a Feather

External links

  • Official site
  • Interview with Sonia Manzano

This article uses material from the "Sonia Manzano" article on the Muppet wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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