Tell us about yourself and how your career led you to work in children’s television.

I love to play the cello and bass guitar and have been performing, studying and recording music ever since I was a kid. I've always enjoyed performing as an actor in plays at school and as a musician. It's actually music that really got me into children's TV.  Music led me to working in recording studios in Toronto, which eventually led to me becoming both a voice actor and voice director.

What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?

The Simpsons was my favorite TV show growing up. I still watch it to this day. I cannot express how much I love all the extremely talented voice actors in the cast. They all have inspired me greatly throughout my career.

Describe your role on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood.

I am the voice director for Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. I get to direct the voice actors who play all the different characters on Daniel Tiger and make sure the voice recording sessions run smoothly and on time. It is an extremely fun job to have! I still pinch myself sometimes because I think I'm dreaming that I'm a voice director! Growing up, I never thought I would end up with my name on the credits of a TV Show.

What is your favorite episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood?

My favorite episode is season 3, episode 15, "Daniel Takes His Time" where Daniel learns that patience is a very important character trait. I often find myself going too fast for my own good so this lesson really hit home for me! Plus it features the Grandpere character, who I just love to watch and listen. He is such a sweet character and his voice is so soothing and warm.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

In my free time I enjoy playing video games, cooking and studying Japanese and Italian.

Describe your role at Fred Rogers Productions.  

As a paralegal, I assist in the preparation and management of the contracts needed by the Legal, Production, and Licensing departments. I also assist with requests for permission to use our intellectual property.

Tell us about yourself and how your career led you to work in children’s television.

I have a M.A. in audiology and previously worked with patients on both the diagnostic and rehabilitative sides of hearing loss. I chose to focus on my family when one of my children was diagnosed with a disability. When I re-entered the workforce, I went in a totally different direction and started taking paralegal classes with a focus on contracts.

What do you like most about working at Fred Rogers Productions?

It’s wonderful to work with such kind and caring individuals. So much thought goes into the content for every production in order to provide the best possible shows for children. As the parent of a child with a disability, I am especially proud of FRP’s efforts to incorporate characters with disabilities and adding accessibility features to their shows.

What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?

My favorite show growing up was the Brady Bunch. I was very excited to see the recent FRP video that brought together characters from Donkey Hodie, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, and Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in a montage that reminded me of the Brady Bunch!

What do you like to do when you’re not working? 

I love traveling with my family. Our most recent trip was to the Azores Islands, which was just beautiful. I enjoy all kinds of outdoor activities like rowing, hiking, skiing, and golfing, but spend most of my time on my newest adventure, which is horseback riding.

Tell us about yourself and how your role on Alma’s Way.

I'm the voice director for Alma's Way. My job is to make sure that every actor has a great performance. I listen for the performances that feel true to the moment and most in tune with our characters. Since our actors record one at a time, it's also my job to make sure their performances will match each other once they're edited together. But most of all, I enjoy the joy - the laughter and creative joy that comes from bringing the words off the page and into the gorgeous voices of our cast.

Do you have a favorite episode and character on Alma’s Way?

Having just adopted a rescue dog myself, I'm feeling very partial to the Chaco episodes. I love that he always steals Abuelo's socks! But I simply cannot choose a favorite character - I know them all so well! Alma's neighborhood is very similar to my own Washington Heights area in NYC - we're a short bus ride to the Bronx. So Alma's world is my own home now and I like hanging out with the whole crew. Let's go get a piragua and see if Frankie Four Feet can spin some tunes for us!

What inspires you?

Actors. And laughter. Talented people find joy in what they're doing and I love watching an actor enjoy a role. Especially since we have such young talent on our show. When a young actor is enjoying a story, laughing and giggling, then I'm really inspired to help shape their performance into something special.

What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up? 

Mister Rogers is the whole reason I got into television. His power to connect with kids is still inspirational to me: a reminder that kids mostly need someone to talk to - to hear them and to be heard. I also loved Electric Company and Reading Rainbow (I was a PBS kid for sure). As I got a little older, I fell in love with Little House on the Prairie. There was, evidently, a short while that I asked everyone in my family to call me Halfpint...

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

I love to be outside walking my dog - every day there's a new way the light filters through the trees or a bird sings into the sky. I also love time with my family (my kids are a hoot!). I love making up recipes. I've made more kinds of muffins than I can remember! A great Saturday for me starts with a dog walk and ends applauding at a Broadway show (and then talking about the show on the subway ride home). Throw some Ethiopian or Greek food in for lunch, too!

Describe your role at Fred Rogers Productions.

I’m the Controller which is part of the fantastic accounting and finance team that maintains FRP’s internal financials, as well as our internal and external financial reporting. Our financials include the daily operations of FRP, each show we produce (both past and present), and each program we host.

Tell us about yourself and how your career led you to work in children’s television.

From elementary school through high school, I loved playing the flute and writing, but I wasn’t sure that was the right career path for me.  It wasn’t until high school that I had an amazing math teacher and things “clicked.”
I went to college for accounting and had a wonderful internship my senior year that evolved into my first job as a forensic accountant.  Our cases ranged from small business owner disputes, to suspected school district embezzlement, and even federal theft where a detective had to be present as we handled financial documents.  It was the perfect balance of accounting, report writing, and client interaction, with a dash of high-stakes pressure.  I worked there for several years, but after receiving my CPA license the time was right to make a career pivot and move to Pittsburgh where I worked as a financial auditor, mostly for non-profit organizations.
Working with several unique non-profits sparked my interest in the field.  I stumbled onto a job posting by FRP and quickly realized it was the perfect opportunity to bring my accounting skills to an organization that shared my love for the arts and supports a greater-good.  Six years later that still rings true!

What do you like most about working at Fred Rogers Productions?

Everyone exudes a passion for their craft.  It’s inspiring to see not only how hard everyone works, but how much they truly enjoy their work.  Plus, seeing FRP’s impact on kids and families across the US and beyond is incredibly rewarding.

What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?

I was a total 90’s PBS kid.  My favorites were Zoom, Zoboomafoo, and Dragon Tales.  The Big Comfy Couch gets an honorable mention because my sister and I used to watch that together.

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Every weekend my husband and I try to do something fun with our two-year-old son.  That might be a trip to a local bakery, an outing to the pumpkin patch, visiting different parks, or trying a new restaurant (with an escape plan of course – toddlers can get crazy!).  Disney World is our guilty pleasure, and we love taking trips to visit the ghosts at Haunted Mansion (my personal favorite) and drink blue milk at Galaxy’s Edge.

Celebrate the “Mister Rogers Universe” with us in this joyful rendition of "Won't You Be Our Neighbor?” A Sing-Along with Mister Rogers, Daniel Tiger, and Donkey Hodie"! We've brought together characters from our current PBS KIDS series, Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and Donkey Hodie, to perform Fred Rogers’ iconic theme song. The video launched on Instagram on August 13, 2023 in recognition of the premiere of Donkey Hodie’s second season and new episodes of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood. The unique version of the song features warm, playful moments of Fred Rogers singing the theme, assembled from nine episodes of the classic series.  The music team created a new arrangement that highlighted a chorus featuring Daniel Tiger, Donkey Hodie, and pals. The performers were excited to have a chance to sing a tune they knew so well from their own childhoods!
We loved hearing from fans on social media and share in their excitement to see these characters come together.
"What a joy to see these characters and stories continue to unfold and reach new generations!"
"Crying my eyes out right now. The gentlessness, kindness, and love he lived and taught is unmatched."
"Fred would be very proud."
"I actually teared up from this."
Tell us about yourself and your role on Alma’s Way.
I had the incredible honor of bringing Mateo to life! My roots trace back to Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where I was raised by two remarkable Puerto Rican parents. My journey has been a tapestry of roles: from serving our nation in the Marines to protecting the people of New York with the MTAPD, to lighting up television and stage, and even lending my voice. Yet, my most cherished roles are that of a dad to my amazing sons, Jaiden and Jonah.
Do you have a favorite episode and character on Alma’s Way?
"Alma Goes To Puerto Rico" holds a special place in my heart. It's a vibrant journey through Puerto Rico, reminiscent of my first visit to my family's roots. Witnessing Alma embrace the island's beauty, sounds, and culture is an invitation for everyone to experience the richness of Puerto Rican heritage. It's about celebrating diversity and the splendor of our beloved island.
What inspires you?
My wellspring of inspiration flows from the magic of storytelling. It's the profound connection it forges, touching souls on a deep and emotional level. Whether through acting, music, or artistic expression, I'm fueled by the prospect of lifting others up. Moreover, I'm galvanized by the opportunity to champion diversity and inclusivity in entertainment, striving to craft a more embracing world through my craft.
What else are you working on these days?
I'm embarking on a thrilling new chapter as I pen my very first memoir. It's a journey into my life's adventures, trials, and triumphs - a tale I can't wait to share with the world.
What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?
Ah, the '80s were a golden era for TV! I can still feel the excitement of those unforgettable theme songs. Shows like Family Ties, One Day At A Time, The Greatest American Hero, Reading Rainbow, Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, and The Wonder Years had a profound impact on me. They were more than shows; they were cherished memories.
What do you like to do when you’re not working?
When the spotlight dims, I revel in quality time with my loved ones, cherishing each moment. Music is my soul's language, so I sing my heart out, embracing everything from Latin rhythms to soulful R&B to the magic of Broadway. Staying active and nurturing a healthy lifestyle keeps me invigorated - you might catch me breaking a sweat or savoring outdoor adventures. And, of course, there's no greater joy than immersing myself in a good book or exploring new hobbies. Yet, above all, it's the precious moments with family that truly define the essence of life, echoing Michael J. Fox's wisdom: "Family isn't an important thing, it's everything."

Tell us about yourself and how your career led you to work in children’s television.

I have always loved performing. When I was young, I’d read books out loud to myself in my bedroom, giving different voices to all of the characters as if it was a one-woman show. I’d sing on my backyard swing set. I did a lot of theatre in high school, but the idea of making a living as a performer was not seen as realistic by the people in my life at the time. I became a radio/TV/film major in college, but I also performed in student films, was in an improv troupe, sang in various groups, wrote comic essays, and also took courses in storytelling, creative drama, and children’s theatre.

I’d always been a fan of “Sesame Street” when I was little but it wasn’t until I watched it between classes in college that I saw the Muppet style of TV puppetry as a way to combine all the things I loved (character acting, singing, improv, writing, storytelling, TV production), and a medium in which I could play many, many different characters of any type without it mattering what I looked like. Once I had this epiphany, I spent most of my time building odd-looking puppets and teaching myself TV puppetry… and took to it immediately. It’s a complicated but incredibly freeing way to perform.

The thing about TV puppetry of this kind is that most of the programs that use it are in children’s television, but all those children’s theatre, creative drama, and storytelling courses gave me an incredible knowledge base in that area, and they still inform the work I do, even as children’s television continues to evolve.

Describe your role(s) on Donkey Hodie.

I have many roles on Donkey Hodie: I play Duck Duck, Harriett Elizabeth Cow, Mama Panda, Doc Skunk, and a few other surprise characters coming up in Season 2… and when I’m on set and my characters aren’t in the scene, I sometimes assist the other puppeteers by manipulating their character’s arms or feet, or helping them handle certain props.

I’ve also written a handful of episodes, including “Growing the Ungrowdenia,” “Panda Hodie,” “Good Dog School,” and “Being Bob Dog.”

It’s fun to get to do so many different things on the show on any given day. And I really love it when two of my characters are in a scene together. I’ll perform one character the way I usually do - by doing the voice and physical manipulation simultaneously, and then I’ll also perform the voice of the other character while someone else (usually Mel Campbell) puppeteers it, matching the lip-sync to my vocals. It’s a tricky challenge but I always enjoy it.

I love playing all of these characters, even though each puppet has its own unique challenges in terms of manipulation, but Duck Duck is officially my favorite puppet character that I have ever played in my 30-year career.

Did you watch Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood growing up? If so, how does it feel to work on Donkey Hodie now?

I definitely watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and not just because I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, where Fred Rogers is our hometown hero. That show was very important to me growing up, and according to my family, I had a crush on Mister Rogers as a toddler. Apparently I would hold my baby bottle up to the TV and “feed” him. Even at an early age, I knew that food is how Italians show love.

Working on Donkey Hodie is extra special for me because we shoot it in Chicago, which is where my alma mater, Northwestern University, is. It was at Northwestern that I realized I wanted to pursue puppetry as a career, and it was a puppet project I produced with my dorm-mate friends that led me to meeting David Rudman, who recommended me to audition for the Jim Henson Company.

After years of working on Sesame Street with David and Adam Rudman, I was so lucky to be invited into the Spiffy Pictures Universe and get to work on projects like Jack’s Big Music Show and Nature Cat. Spiffy was the first company to let me write for them, and it was my first Donkey Hodie script that got me my Writers Guild card.

At first I was a little unnerved by the idea of playing a legacy character like Harriett Elizabeth Cow, but when I saw how she was being redesigned with that fabulous hot pink hair, and reimagined as a boldly confident artist and inventor, rather than the prim schoolmarm I grew up watching, I was inspired to honor her past — as well as my Pittsburgh roots — by giving her a Pittsburgh dialect. This was also inspired by rewatching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood as an adult and being struck by how thick Chef Brockett’s “Yinzer” dialect really was. I have a KDKA “Pittsburgh: Someplace Special” T-Shirt from 3 Rivers Retro that I like to wear on days when I perform Harriett. (I recently got another “Pittsburgh: Someplace Special” Bicentennial shirt from Yinzylvania that I’ve worn on set as well.)

I also show my Northwestern purple pride on set every day. My microphone is mounted on a modified Northwestern ball cap. I happen to stay near the Northwestern campus when we’re in production, and I love taking walks on my old stomping grounds when I can. And even though I honestly didn’t think about Northwestern purple when I first played her, it just felt right to give Mama Panda a big midwest heart.

Donkey Hodie is already an incredibly wonderful show to work on because of all the fun we have bringing these characters to life, and especially because of our glorious cast and crew, but having these personal connections to the show makes it truly special.

Do you have a favorite episode of Donkey Hodie?

If there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s that I don’t have one favorite of anything… I tend to have multiple favorites of things, and in terms of Donkey Hodie episodes, I really love “Art Show Today,” “Lavender Lights,” “Swoop-a-rino,” and “Bye Bye, Book.” But there are so many great episodes coming up in Season 2 that are in the running to become my new favorites!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

Most of the things I like to do are directly related to my career in some way, so sometimes it’s hard to tell when I’m not working! But I do enjoy playing the New York Times word games on my phone, relaxing at home in New York City with my husband, Craig Shemin, while we watch mostly-classic TV and movies, and taking long walks that usually culminate in some sort of delicious meal or treat (preferably ice cream)!

Tell us about yourself and how your career led you to work in children’s television.

I am a Puerto Rican musician and composer based in Boston, MA. My main instrument is the cuatro, a five-double string guitar traditional to Puerto Rico. The cuatro has led me to some amazing opportunities: attending Berklee College of Music and graduating as the first Puerto Rican cuatrista; performing nationally and internationally with my original music project; doing workshops and residencies with organizations such as the Met, Chicago Philharmonic, Boston Landmarks Orchestra, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and many others; and recently, having the amazing honor writing music for children's television. It all started because of Alma's Way and their desire to honor and showcase the traditional sounds of Puerto Rico as part of the soundtrack of the series, which has then led to other writing opportunities.

What was your favorite TV show when you were growing up?

One of my favorite TV shows growing up was Sesame Street.

Describe your role on Alma’s Way.

My role on Alma's Way is to compose the music of the series alongside Asher Lenz and Stephen Skratt. I also support the production as a consultant, giving feedback and context on Puerto Rican traditions, culture, slang, and music. Additionally, I work with the digital team on creating some of the music for the video games on pbskids.org.

What is your favorite episode of Alma’s Way

My favorite episode of Alma's Way is "Alma's Nochebuena" because we got to showcase so many of the traditions I grew up celebrating, especially parrandas!

What do you like to do when you’re not working?

When I'm not working, I love to be around nature: going to the park with my dog, hiking, and paddleboarding.