CONTACT: MELVIN O. SHAW
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0010; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 24, 2000
Lecture by 'Sesame Street' star 'Maria' rescheduled
to May 1
(Editor's Note: Sonia Manzano's originally scheduled
lecture at the UI on Monday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the IMU Main Lounge
has been rescheduled for 7:30 p.m. Monday, May 1. Manzano had to cancel in
order to attend a White House ceremony where she was presented with an award
for her work on Sesame Street.)
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- In real life she's Sonia Manzano.
But to an untold number of "Sesame Street" viewers she's "Maria," pal to Big
Bird, Bert and Ernie, and a television teacher of early childhood lessons
in citizenship, the ABCs and 1, 2, 3s on the educational program produced
by the Children's Television Workshop.
Manzano will give a free and public talk about the
need for developing one's personality and character at 7:30 p.m., May 1 at
the Iowa Memorial Union Second Floor Ballroom. Manzano's visit to the UI was
organized by the University of Iowa Lecture Committee.
Manzano's role on the "Sesame Street" program extends
behind the screen where she's a contributing writer. In 1986 she was awarded
an Emmy for her writing talents. Sesame Street has earned nearly 30 Emmys
and is seen in more 60 countries over six continents making it one of the
most widely watched children's television shows in the world.
Fourth grade students who are participants in the
Pen Pal Program through the UI's Opportunity at Iowa outreach program will
meet Manzano at the West Liberty Middle School, located at 111 West 7th Street.
Teachers Nancy Ekwall and Belita Kruse are coordinators for the school's Pen
Pal Program, says Adele Rodriguez, program assistant, Opportunity at Iowa.
A meeting time will be announced on Monday, Rodriguez says.
The seven-year-old letter writing program matches
fourth graders from that and three other schools: the Grant Wood Elementary
School, Cedar Rapids; Lincoln Elementary School in Waterloo; and third and
eighth graders at The Sac and Fox School in Tama, with UI students, faculty,
and staff. The program's intent is to orient the students to thinking about
college and to allow their correspondents to serve as role models, says Rodriguez.
A brief look back at Manzano's two-decade history
on the program shows she began playing Maria the character when she was a
teen-ager and a role character who has matured through a hippie phase, exploration
with radical feminism, to life as a married parent.
Manzano has seemingly always loved the stage. As a
third-year drama student at Carnegie-Mellon University, she appeared in the
original production of the musical comedy "Godspell" and the drama "The Living
And she has appeared in "Happy New Year," and in films,
"Death Wish," "Firepower," and "Night Flowers."
Her other credits include director and star of "Appearing
in Person Tonight: Your Mother." She is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre,
a professional organization dedicated to the realization of new works for
Manzano says she enjoys doing voice-overs for "Sesame
Street" divisions and plans to expand her experimental work in the theatre.