'Sesame Street' gets new Hispanic character
NEW YORK (AP) — As a child in Puerto Rico, Ismael Cruz was delighted by the colorful characters in "Sesame Street," who not only entertained and educated him, but helped him learn "inglés." He could not have imagined that two decades later he would be playing with them in front of the cameras.
Cruz is the newest Hispanic addition to popular children series' cast, playing Armando, or "Mando."
"'Sesame Street' is a magical place. It doesn't matter if you are working there or just visiting, or if you're watching on TV, that magic is always there," Cruz, 26, told The Associated Press. "I grew up watching the show, and for me it was a place that really existed and to which as a child I aspired to go, a place so diverse that I could see myself in the faces of the people that were there. Being on the set now is that, but with cameras."
This April 30, 2013 photo shows Puerto Rican actor Ismael Cruz Cordova, 26, of "Sesame Street," posing in New York. Cruz plays Mando, a young Latino writer who interacts with the puppets and also loves technology. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Invision/AP)
Cruz's character is a Hispanic writer from Brooklyn who writes everything from short stories to essays and movie scripts. He also loves technology and social media.
The addition expands a cast of Hispanic characters that includes Maria (Sonia Manzano) and Luis (Emilio Delgado), who debuted on "Sesame Street" in 1971 as human characters, as well as Rosita, the charming turquoise monster who joined in 1993 with Mexican puppeteer Carmen Osbahr, who also voices Ovejita.
The show wants to reflect the population changes in the U.S., where Hispanics are the fastest growing minority. It also features African-American, Asian and American Indian characters.
"It's a show that's always cutting edge, that is always aware of what's going on with the population, so by including a character that is young, with new perspectives, Latino, and that bring that new generation, it is carrying on with that message," Cruz said.