Sesame Street is introducing a new Latino neighbor, “Armando,” to join Elmo, Cookie Monster, Rosita and all the residents of the neighborhood. Played by Ismael Cruz Córdova, “Mando” will make his debut in Sesame Street’s 44th season; additionally 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. A perfect addition to the neighborhood, “Mando” represents a culturally fluid and deeply layered new generation of Hispanic-Americans.

The journey to find the new cast member began in August 2012 when hundreds of young hopefuls turned up for Sesame 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.

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