The 46th season of "Sesame Street" incorporates some refreshing changes.
Cuban-American Suki Lopez, also known as Nina, has joined the cast of, probably, the most famous puppets on children's television. She replaced Sonia Manzano, who played Maria, after she announced her retirement last year.
Lopez, in an interview with NBC News, recalled her "Sesame Street" phase when she was a kid, saying, "Of course I watched the show." "Everybody did, I definitely have memories of being home in Miami and watching it," she added.
She shared that she began studying ballet when she was three years old. "I studied dance, and we did a performance every year." Lopez recounted that she did all the talent shows and was in the school choir at the same time. She also had few Spanish-language commercials stints that aired in Latin America.
Moreover, Lopez studied dance at The Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre during their summer workshops. In high school, she started musical theatre and eventually moved to New York City to pursue further studies at the CAP21 acting conservatory.
Before doing "Sesame Street," she starred in the national tour of "West Side Story," "Singin' in the Rain" and "Thoroughly Modern Millie." She also appeared in "Wishes," "Believe of the Disney Cruise" and understudied the role of Jasmine in "Aladdin." Aside from performing arts, Lopez has worked various jobs in restaurants, graphic design, and managing social media accounts for dance studios in Florida.
"Sesame Street" is her television debut and shared that her audition for the role was "a blast."
"Originally, at my first audition, it was a reading with another person doing Elmo's lines in their own voice, which was kind of weird," Lopez recalled. "But it was a regular audition, I just went through it trying to keep it real and believable. It was a scene where Elmo and I had a heart-to-heart talk," she noted.
"The second time around, at my callback, I auditioned with "Murray" (one of the puppets)," Lopez added on. "We did a little scene and we sang together and did an improv. It was actually super-fun. It was one of the coolest and most fun auditions I have ever experienced." Lopez thought that day that, even if she didn't get the job, she was happy to go through the process.
According to a report by Fox News Latino, the 46th season of "Sesame Street" -- now housed by HBO -- aims for kids to be "smarter, stronger, kinder."
The brand new season will premiere on Saturday at 9 a.m. EST and will have two half-hours.