Sonia Manzano + Jan Cohen-Cruz
Sunday, September 20, 2015
6:00 PM–7:30 PM
Sonia Manzano, Sesame Street‘s beloved Maria, will, with the help of performance professor Jan Cohen-Cruz, trace the steps that led her to become a television icon. Sonia will be available to sign copies of her new childhood memoir Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx.
About the Speakers
Sonia Manzano has affected the lives of millions since the early 1970s as the actress who defined the role of Maria on the acclaimed television series Sesame Street. Sonia has won fifteen Emmy Awards for her television writing and is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Arts and Sciences. She was twice nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series but also wrote for the Peabody Award-winning children’s series Little Bill for Nickelodeon. People magazine named Sonia one of America’s most influential Hispanics. Becoming Maria: Love and Chaos in the South Bronx is her newest book. Her first two were the successful picture books No Dogs Allowed! and A Box Full of Kittens. She lives in New York City.
Jan Cohen-Cruz is a scholar, practitioner, and teacher of grassroots, socially-grounded, and activist art. She wrote Engaging Performance: Theatre as Call and Response; Local Acts: Community-Based Performance in the US; and, most recently, Remapping Performance: Common Ground, Uncommon Partners. As a professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts from the late 1980s until 2006, Jan was deeply involved in community-based arts projects with students. In the mid-1990s, Jan co-directed Tisch’s AmeriCorps on violence reduction through the arts. In 2006-7, she co-conceptualized and co-initiated HOME, New Orleans, collaborating with Xavier, Dillard, and Tulane Universities, local artists including the VESTIGES Project, and residents of four neighborhoods, experimenting with art’s role in the revitalization of “home” as dwelling, neighborhood, and that city itself. Cohen-Cruz has been a freelance practitioner of Boal’s “theatre of the oppressed” for 25 years. In 2011-12, she was the evaluator of fifteen community-based visual arts projects taking place in countries around the world, sponsored by the Bronx Museum and the US State Department. She is currently the evaluator for A Blade of Grass artist-fellows. She received the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s Award for Leadership in Community-Based Theatre and Civic Engagement in 2012. Jan directed Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life (IA) from 2008-1012. In addition to serving as the founding editor of IA’s e-journal, Public, Jan is a University Professor at Syracuse University.