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The 'Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles' cast visits Manhattan

The new cast and producers of the Nickelodeon

The new cast and producers of the Nickelodeon show "Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," from left Josh Brener, who plays Donatello, Kat Graham (April O'Neil), Brandon Mychal Smith (Michelangelo), Ant Ward (executive producer), Omar Miller (Raphael) and Andy Suriano (executive producer) with Kidsday reporters Victoria Oliveri, left, Joan Yantsos, Tyler Mann and Everett McClintock at the Nickeloldeon offices in Manhattan. Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

We met the voices of the new animated TV series “Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” on Nickelodeon in Manhattan at the Nickelodeon offices recently. The cartoon originated in 1984 and has had five shows, six movies and more than 300 comics.  This new series will have more comedy and a faster pace than in the past.  The cast of the show includes Omar Miller, who plays Raph; Josh Brener, who plays Donnie; Brandon Mychal Smith, who plays Mikey, and Kat Graham, who plays April O’Neil. Unfortunately, Ben Schwartz, who plays Leo, was unable to be at our interview.  We also met Ant Ward and Andy Suriano, co-executive producers of the show.  We asked many great questions during the interview, and some of their responses were pretty funny.  They made themselves laugh and they made us laugh.

When we asked them if they are more ninja or turtle, Omar Miller (Raphael) replied that he was definitely more ninja.  Josh Benner (Donatello) replied that he was more ninja and Kat Graham (April O’Neil) said that she is more turtle.  She also said that Josh Benner was the most turtle out of all of them, which made everyone crack up!  Brandon Mychal Smith (Michelangelo) said he was more turtle.

We wanted to know if they would rather be in a movie, cartoon or TV show.   Omar Miller responded by saying he prefers to be in movies.

We were interested to know what happens when they get sick and they have to work.  They responded that everyone is very helpful and thoughtful and brings you tea. We think that bringing tea is a very thoughtful thing to do.

Another thing we asked them was if they love pizza as much as their characters do. Everyone said at once that they definitely loved pizza!

We were curious to know what cartoons they watched as a kid. They started listing shows like Bugs Bunny, TMNT, Pepper Ann, etc.  We didn’t expect them to like or watch some of the same shows that we watch.

We asked them what is the hardest part about being the voice for these characters, and they said that when saying the lines, they have to use their imaginations because they can’t see the show.  It reminded us of reading a book because we have to imagine what’s going on.

We mentioned that TMNT has been around for over 30 years and is constantly being rebooted.  We wanted to know why they thought TMNT is still massively popular. Before they even answered, they said that they were so incredibly impressed by this question.  They said it was a “Stanford-level question.”  They continued to say that the characters and the humor have stayed the same over the past 30 years … and the pizza!

Lastly, we asked them when they are recording their voices, do they all go in the room at the same time?  We were happy to hear that they try to go in together to read their lines.  It doesn’t always happen because they are busy with other job commitments, like other movies, shows, etc.

In conclusion, the trip to Manhattan to interview the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  The cast loved our questions and were impressed with us.  They hoped to have us back to interview them again.  They made us feel very special. You can see this show at various times on Nicktoons and Nickelodeon.

We also went to the Sugar Factory for lunch and had a super time. Overall, we asked a lot of terrific questions and everyone had a great time.  We hope that one day we can all have another adventure like this one.  

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