Sonia Manzano is known to millions of children and parents through her role as Maria on Sesame Street, a character she has played since 1971. Her theatre credits include The Exonerated and the original production of Godspell. She has won fifteen Emmy Awards as a writer for Sesame Street, received the 2003 Hispanic Heritage Award, and in 2005 was awarded an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Notre Dame University. Closer to home, she is proud to have been inducted into the Bronx Hall of Fame. She has written for the Peabody Award-winning Nickelodeon series Little Bill, and is the author of the picture books No Dogs Allowed! and A Box Full of Kittens. No Dogs Allowed! has been turned into a musical. She is currently working on a memoir. Ms. Manzano can be found online at soniamanzano.com.
Gustafer Yellowgold concerts are a unique blend of live music and moving images. The minimally animated illustrations that play on screen are accompanied by illustrator/songwriter Morgan Taylor's catchy and original story-songs, for a truly different multimedia experience that is entrancing children, teens, and adults alike. Gustafer is a friendly creature who came to Earth from the sun and has an unusual magnetism for making friends with some of Earth's odder creatures. His best friend is Forrest Applecrumbie the flightless Pterodactyl. Gustafer and Forrest built a small cottage-style home on the edge of an uncharted wooded area in Minnesota. He has a pet Eel named Slim (short for Slimothy) and a pet Dragon named Asparagus who lives in his fireplace and loves corn on the cob. Gustafer's pals, the Mustard Slugs, practice their math under the shrubbery. Since his creation in 2005, Gustafer Yellowgold has become an international phenomenon, acclaimed by the New York Times, which said, "The show is a cross between ‘Yellow Submarine' and Dr. Seuss." Entertainment Weekly praised the show as being filled with "the most infectious original songs. It's like tapping into some pleasure center in the brain. Absurdly appealing. Grade: A." Additionally, New York Magazine named Morgan Taylor "Best Kids' Performer" in its 2008 Best of New York Awards. For more information about concerts, Gustafer, and all his pals, visit gustaferyellowgold.com
Father Goose, also known as Wayne Rhoden, grew up in Jamaica, where music and performing was always an integral part of his life. In the 90s, he honed his DJ craft as an underground reggae-dancehall superstar in Jamaica and on the streets of Brooklyn. Moving out of the dancehall world into the children's entertainment arena, Mr. Rhoden has been performing as Father Goose for the past seven years. A proven multi-talented entertainer, Father Goose has breathed fresh air into the children's music scene by letting children enjoy nursery sing-alongs and allowing their parents to reminisce about their own childhood melodies. Father Goose is featured on all of Dan Zanes and Friends' successful albums, DVDs, and videos. Father Goose has his own family CD, titled It's a Bam Bam Diddly!, filled with contagious Caribbean sounds, including reggae and mento mixed with energetic vocals and instruments. It's a party in a CD, which starts in Jamaica and ends in Brooklyn, with guest performances from Dan Zanes, Sheryl Crow, Coolie Ranx, Sister Carol, and other Caribbean stars. The album has won awards from the Parent's Choice Foundation, and its songs (like "Bam Bam") have charted at number one on XM Kids. The album was nominated for a 2008 GRAMMY Award for Best Musical Album for Children, and Father Goose was nominated as both an artist and a producer. In 2007, Father Goose won a GRAMMY Award for Best Musical Album for Children for his performances on Dan Zanes' album Catch that Train. He also performed on Dane Zanes' GRAMMY Award- nominated album House Party. Visit Father Goose online at fathergoose.net.
Dan Zanes is the 21st Century version of the guy who, in the old days, used to conduct the town band from the gazebo-though in lieu of a gazebo he's playing places like Carnegie Hall and The Melbourne International Arts Festival, where no matter how you say it, good music is good music. Mr. Zanes also has a mission: to introduce his musical friends to his neighborhood friends, showing that everybody can play together and feel pretty good while doing so. He is a ringmaster, introducing new songs and reconnecting people to songs that have always been there, and still are, it's just that people forgot about them. Mr. Zanes was born in Exeter, NH in 1961, and was a member of the Del Fuegos from their inception to the end of the 80s. In 1994, he released a solo CD, Cool Down Time, shortly after which he moved to Brooklyn with his wife and daughter, where he then released Rocket Ship Beach (2000), which became an immediate hit with both families and critics across America. For the last decade, Mr. Zanes and his label, Festival Five Records, have continued producing a growing number of albums, DVDs, and even children's books, including 2007's GRAMMY Award-winning Catch That Train. Mr. Zanes' latest project, 76 Trombones (due November 17th from Festival Five Records), is a collection of classic tunes from the Broadway stage, broken down to their ragged essence and reworked as 21st Century all-ages music. Joining the band on their trip down the Great White Way are stars of stage and screen: Carol Channing, Matthew Broderick, Brian Stokes Mitchell, De'adre Aziza, and Derick K. Grant. Mr. Zanes has also been spending his spare time with Spanish dictionaries, listening to salsa or merengue or norteño or anything along those lines, writing songs for films like Wonderful World, directed by Josh Goldin, and even making a cameo appearance here and there, like he did in Wonderful World and Revolutionary Road, directed by Sam Mendes. September saw the release of The Fine Friends Are Here!, Zanes and Friends' first DVD in four years, featuring a complete live concert and three new music videos, along with a bonus audio disc with four brand new Zanes solo songs. For music, tour dates, and more, please visit danzanes.com.