Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Sonia Manzano and Sumalee Montano Talk 'The Casagrandes'

If you watch Nickelodeon regularly, chances are you’ve caught some episodes of Nickelodeon’s The Casagrandes. It’s the hit spinoff of another animated series, The Loud House. Viewers of all ages love the Casagrande family, their customs, and hilarious interactions — brought to life by an incredible cast of voice actors — which is one of the many reasons why the show has such mass appeal.

Who Are The Casagrandes?

The Casagrandes tells the story of 11-year-old Ronnie Anne Santiago and her family. Ronnie Anne is a free-spirited girl who loves to skateboard, and has to move to the big city to live with her large Mexican-family, the Casagrandes. Needless to say, this creates some challenges for our hero.

Not only does Ronnie Anne have to adjust to big city, but she also has to get used to being under one roof with her grandparents, aunt, uncle, cousins, and a talking parrot. That’s not to mention working at the family’s mercado. 

As Ronnie Anne settles in, Ronnie Anne goes on a variety of adventures as she explores the endless possibilities in the Great Lakes City, while adjusting to life with her very large family.

Meet The Casagrandes Cast

There are many big personalities in the show, including Ronnie Anne’s grandmother, Rosa, and mother Maria. Rosa Casagrande is voiced by Sonia Manzano, who is best known for her role as “Maria” for years on Sesame Street, and Maria Casagrande-Santiago is voiced by Sumalee Montano, whose credits range from NashvilleJustice League and Beware the Batman to Kung Fu Panda and Carmen Sandiego.

So what do these industry veterans love about their characters and the show?

Sonia Manzano (L) voices Rosa Casagrande and Sumalee Montano (R) voices Maria Casagrande-Santiago on The Casagrandes.

“It’s not the cliche of only cooking and cleaning the house,” Sonia told Parentology. She loves that her character Rosa is both a fierce protector of her grandchildren and also a big multi-tasker. “She can also fix the boiler. She can also fix the plumbing,” she says.

Sumalee tells Parentology that she finds it appealing that her character, Maria, is also multi-faceted. She says there’s a lot more to her character than meets the eye.

“She’s this hardworking single mom, but as you get to know her through the series you get to find out that in high school and when she was younger, she was this big rock and roller… and that she plays a mean harp,” Sumalee laughs.

While The Casagrandes is certainly entertaining for kids, both women tell Parentology that there are also messages that they hope come across for parents and children. For example, in the show, Maria asks Ronnie Anne rhetorically, “How did I get so lucky with you?” Sonia points out that it’s a wonderful thing for all parents to find the time to say to their kids more often.  

“Praise your kid. It’s okay to praise your kid. It’s not making them stronger if you don’t praise them,” Sonia says.

This subtle parenting moment isn’t the only message that can be found in The Casagrandes. For example, Sumalee loves Ronnie Anne’s moxie, her sense of adventure and that she makes mistakes. And although Ronnie Anne stumbles from time to time — like any kid — she has a kind heart and works her way back. 

“It’s okay to make mistakes and then you learn to work together to right them and to fix them,” Sumalee says. And the ultimate outcome? “To increase the love and joy in the family,” adds Sumalee.

Learn more about The Casagrandes cast and episodes at the show's official website. Nickelodeon’s The Casagrandes: The Complete First Season is available now on DVD.

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