About Sonia

soniaSonia Manzano is a first-generation-on-the-mainland Puerto Rican who has affected the lives of millions of parents and children since the early 1970s, when she began to play "Maria" on Sesame Street.

Manzano was raised in the South Bronx. She attended the High School of Performing Arts. A scholarship took her to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and in her junior year, she came to New York to star in the original production of the off-Broadway show Godspell. Within a year, Manzano joined the production of Sesame Street, where she eventually began writing scripts for the series.

Manzano has performed on the New York stage in the critically acclaimed theater pieces Vagina Monologues, The Exonerated and Love Loss and What I Wore.  Movies include Deathwish, Follow That Bird and Elmo in Grouchland. 

Her children's book, No Dogs Allowed! was published by Simon & Schuster in 2004 and selected by General Mills for their Spoonfuls of Stories series. Over one million copies of No Dogs Allowed! were given away in cereal boxes courtesy of General Mills.

No Dogs Allowed! has been turned into a children's musical, with a productions at the Actor's Playhouse, in Coral Gables, Florida and the Atlantic Theater in New York. Theatrical Rights Worldwide has licensed it. Her second book, A Box Full Of Kittens, was published in 2007.
She enjoys traveling the country giving comedic speeches with substance.

Manzano received The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Award in Washington DC, and the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education in 2003. She received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Notre Dame University in 2005. Closer to home, she is proud to have been inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame in 2004. Manzano has 15 Emmy Awards as a writer for Sesame Street. She was twice nominated for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series. A Box Full Of Kittens received the Notable Video Award from the American Library Association in 2009.

Project Sunshine voted Manzano Volunteer of The Year Manzano in 2009.  She, along with Al Roker has been a Learning Leader reader for their annual event at Lincoln Center.  She has served on the Peabody Foundation, and Symphony Space Boards, and continues to be active with the Bronx River Alliance and The Bronx Childrens Museum.

Manzano received The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Award in Washington DC, and the Hispanic Heritage Award for Education in 2003. She received an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Notre Dame University in 2005. Closer to home, she is proud to have been inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame in 2004. Manzano has 15 Emmy Awards as a writer for Sesame Street. She was twice nominated for an Emmy Award as Outstanding Performer in a Children's Series. A Box Full Of Kittens received the Notable Video Award from the American Library Association in 2009.  She is proud to have received the 2013 Pura Belpre Honor Book Award for The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. 

She is most happy to continue to be on Sesame Street.