New Spanish Language Character to Be Introduced in Season 44
New York, NY — Sesame Street is excited to announce the arrival of a new Latino neighbor, the bilingual “Armando,” played by actor 26-year-old Puerto Rico-born Ismael Cruz Córdova. Ismael will make his debut as “Mando” when Sesame Street’s44th season premieres September 16th, 2013 on PBS KIDS. Produced by the nonprofit educational organizationSesame Workshop, the new season will have a special focus on Hispanic heritage with many new songs and lessons.
Sesame Street is constantly evolving and has a long-standing history of modeling a diverse community. As producers were identifying the realities of the changing American population, it was important to represent that diversity in the new addition to the cast. “Armando,” a writer from Puerto Rico, will join Maria (played by Sonia Manzano), Luis (Emilio Delgado) and Muppets™ Rosita and Ovejita (Carmen Osbahr) as part of Sesame Street’s bilingual community.
“Like his character ‘Mando,’ Ismael represents a culturally fluid and deeply layered new generation of Hispanic-Americans,” Carol-Lynn Parente, executive producer of “Sesame Street,” said in a statement.
“He has a passion for creative expression and a warmth that comes right through the camera,” Parente added.
“Sesame Street” previously added two bilingual Spanish-speaking actors and one bilingual puppet, Rosita. Puppet Ovejita, who only speaks Spanish, appears occasionally.
The United States is on a path to becoming a “majority minority” nation as minority babies topped 50 percent for the first time in 2011, with Hispanics the largest and fastest-growing minority group.
The journey to find the new cast member began in August 2012 when hundreds of young hopefuls turned up forSesame Street’s first-ever open casting call held in New York City. Actors showcased their Spanish fluency, comedic timing and vocal abilities during a day of auditions and subsequent call-backs. Ismael’s incredible charm and charisma won him the opportunity of a lifetime. You can follow Sesame Street’s quest to find “Mando” here.
“I am honestly still in shock,” said Ismael. “I am incredibly proud to be a part of a show that acknowledges and celebrates diversity so whole-heartedly and am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to represent Latino-Americans on Sesame Street.”
A native of Puerto Rico, Ismael holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Prior to joining Sesame Street, he landed a recurring role as “Jimmy Patrick” on the Golden Globe winning CBS drama, The Good Wife and has acted in several films including In the Blood, White Alligator and Chaser. A well-rounded actor, audiences and critics alike have also welcomed Ismael on the stage with an HOLA and ACE award for his performance as “Julio Cesar” in the off-Broadway play, La Luz De un Cigarrillo, by Marco Antonio Rodriguez.
Beyond television, Sesame Street fans can expect to watch and interact with “Mando” this summer and fall throughSesame Street’s various social channels including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Be on the lookout for “Mando” to come to a PBS station near you with a live show starring some of your favorite Sesame Street residents later this summer.
“Sesame Street,” which is entering its 44th season, is produced by the non-profit Sesame Workshop in New York.
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