NEW YORK -- So you grew up watching Elmo, Cookie Monster and Big Bird, and now you want to be friends with Rosita, Luis and Maria.

If you are a bilingual actor or actress between the ages of 18 and 25, this may be the chance of a lifetime: "Sesame Street" is looking for a new Hispanic character.

The producers of "Sesame Street" told The Associated Press that they are holding an open casting call on Monday, August 20 at Manhattan's Roseland Ballroom for a recurring character to join the "`Sesame Street' family."

"We hope many people show up. We know the Latino community is full of talented people," said Rocio Galarza, senior director of content planning, design and outreach for Sesame Workshop, the non-profit organization behind "Sesame Street."

Although it's too early to talk about the specifics of the new character – which would depend on the chosen actor or actress' background – Galarza said they are looking for someone capable of singing and improvising in both English and Spanish and with a good sense of humor.

"Sesame Street" debuted in 1969 and has added versions in countries like Israel, Nigeria, Germany and Mexico, where "Plaza Sésamo" is produced. The series has always tried to adapt to the realities of the changing American population, which has seen a sharp increase in Hispanics in the last decades.

Maria (played by Sonia Manzano) and Luis (Emilio Delgado) debuted in 1971. The character of Rosita, the turquoise monster with enormous arms, an orange nose and pink eyebrows, debuted in 1993 with the help of Mexican puppeteer Carmen Osbahr, who also lends her voice to Ovejita.

Galarza said the 44th season of "Sesame Street" will focus on the Hispanic heritage.

"Sesame Street" airs on PBS Kids.



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