"It's You I Like"- Mr. Rogers

November 26, 2019



Hey everyone,

I don’t blog near as often as I’d like to. I realized it’s not necessary to speak if I don’t have anything to say. However, I just got back from an incredible movie and need to share the joy, nostalgia and beauty. 


I eagerly anticipated the release of “A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood”  with Tom Hanks. I grew up watching some quality PBS! Sesame Street (back in the day when Mr. Hooper died, “oh, and it wasn’t on HBO”), Lamb Chop’s Play-Along, Arthur, Wishbone, Reading Rainbow, and of course-- though not on PBS but still a massive staple in my life and career, Sharon Lois & Bram’s The Elephant Show on Nickelodeon. 


I still have the newspaper clippings of when Mr. Fred Rogers, Shari Lewis, and Lois Lilienstein all passed away from different types of cancer. This movie brought up some insane emotions I wasn’t personally ready for. It brought up nostalgia and brought back memories I had long forgotten or hadn’t yet attacked in my life. 


Without giving anything away, this movie, based on a true story, took us on a journey through realization, healing acceptance and with the help of Tom Hanks playing the iconic Mister Rogers,  it taught us how to deal with our feelings. Release them. Let them go. Attack them head on. Just like a real life episode of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood”. 


Many people over the years have wondered what’s the big deal with Mr. Rogers? While others have called it hokey and unrealistic, this movie has proved otherwise. It goes to show how impactful Mr. Rogers was then and in his resurgence, posthumously. I firmly believe that he’s looking down very proud of this product. 


As my insanely talented friend Ben and I, entered the theatre for our 10:30pm showing......well past my bedtime, the theatre was not very full. Slowly but surely, as the credits started wrapping up and the lights dimmed, people of all age groups, ethnicities, and backgrounds filled the theatre. That alone should show the impact Mr. Rogers has had on families and individuals. 


I want to tell you everything and give you a play by play however I can’t stress getting out and seeing this movie for yourselves. There was laughter, quiet whispers of “awe”, clapping, affirming responses, as well as the occasional “wow”. “Wow” is one phrase I just kept saying over and over. 


Having lost both sets of grandparents, two mentors in the same year, friends due to terminal illness, chronic illness or suicide, and then over the past 5 years working hard to repair, build, and rebuild a strong and beautiful relationship with my own father, this movie was the ticket- pun intended! 


This movie gave you pause, made you rethink, made you cry and want you to text a loved one that you still had the privilege of having on this earth and letting them know, “It’s You I Like”. 


Tom Hanks, though not a singer, sang a few of Fred Rogers’ standards and then the credits rolled with, of course, a familiar, friendly, sweet, and genuine voice of Fred Rogers himself. There was some true Broadway representation with Tony nominee, Carmen Cusack from Broadway's Bright Star, and a cameo from one of my favorite movies “Sister Act,” none other than the sister herself, Sister Mary Robert -- Wendy Makkena.


Everyone in the movie did a fantastic job. There were some amazing hat tips to the original series, in which the original opener was in stop motion. That feature appeared throughout as a sort of theatrical scene change. The writers, producers, directors and creators of this movie took their time. They allowed their own nostalgia to ring through, as well as their appreciation for their friendship, be it in person or through our television screens with Fred Rogers and his legacy. 


With all of that being said, I want to thank Ben for inviting me to something I was not interested in being a part of to begin with. Not that I didn’t want to spend time with my friend, but teaching from 9am-6pm and being up since 6am was daunting. Thank you to my mentors on this earth and those who’ve left. Thank you to my parents, especially to my dad who, as a kid was very difficult --go figure......as an adult was so difficult --also go figure, but his resilience in loving his very creative, scatterbrained theatre kid dreamer son always did and still does shine through as he loves his family fiercely and prays for us daily. 


Thank you finally to both Tom Hanks and the legend himself Mr. Fred Rogers. You’ve taught us some incredible lessons.  Through this movie, you’ve brought those lessons to the forefront in a time where our world and country is very polarized. If we take time to be a friend, listen, hear one another, and validate even the most different of opinions, maybe, just maybe, we can all come together to make the world a brighter place. One person at a time. 


Thank you Mr. Rogers for being my neighbor. Thank you for letting me know it’s okay to not be okay. Thank you for letting me know that it’s me you like and I’m wonderful just the way I am.


A Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood is now playing in theatres! There's also a soundtrack available to download, stream or purchase. 





Directed by 

Marielle Heller

Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)  

Micah Fitzerman-Blue...(written by)

Noah Harpster...(written by)

Cast (in credits order)  

Tom Hanks...Fred Rogers

Matthew Rhys...Lloyd Vogel

Chris Cooper...Jerry Vogel

Susan Kelechi Watson...Andrea Vogel

Maryann Plunkett...Joanne Rogers

Enrico Colantoni...Bill Isler

Wendy Makkena...Dorothy

Tammy Blanchard...Lorraine

Noah Harpster...Todd

Carmen Cusack...Margy

Kelley Davis...First AD

Christine Lahti...Ellen

Maddie Corman...Lady Aberlin

Daniel Krell...Mr. McFeely

Jon L Peacock...Sound Technician

Gretchen Koerner...Doctor

Gavin Borders...Young Boy

Mark August...Young Boy's Dad

Tressa Glover...Young Boy's Mom

Jessica Hecht...Lila Vogel

Di Zhu...Waitress

Diane Monroe...Uptown String Quartet

Maxine Roach...Uptown String Quartet (as Maxine L. Roach)

Lesa Terry...Uptown String Quartet

Tahirah Whittington...Uptown String Quartet

Nigel Swinson...Subway Singer

Kayla Fan...Subway Singer

Alexander Ment...Subway Singer

Madeline Ment...Subway Singer

Olivia Irene Ruiz...Subway Singer

Kiesse Yengo-Passy...Subway Singer

Marcel Kottmann...Subway Singer

John Castagliola...Subway Singer

Preston Lopez...Subway Singer (as Jimmy Preston Lopez)

Reginald Bannerman...Subway Singer

Spencer Lott...Puppeteer

Haley Jenkins...Puppeteer

Marc Petrosino...Puppeteer

Kathleen Kim...Puppeteer

Rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Mike Ancas...WQED Grip (uncredited)

Tom Bonello...WQED Grip and Electric (uncredited)

Chris Breen...EMT (uncredited)

Gregory Bromfield...Awards Banquet Waiter (uncredited)

Francesca Calo...Train Passenger (uncredited)

William Caraballo...Port Authority Passenger (uncredited)

Lloyd Crago...Gala Attendee (uncredited)

Kitty Crystal...Subway Punk (uncredited)

Amy Lyn Elliott...WQED Makeup Artist (uncredited)

Joe Fishel...Journalist (uncredited)

Jim Fitzgerald...Restaurant Diner (uncredited)

Heather Habura...Award Presenter (uncredited)

Robert Edward Healy III...Orderly (uncredited)

Josh Heileman...Gala Attendee (uncredited)

Liz Higgins...Journalist (uncredited)

Lauren Hopkins...Wedding Guest (uncredited)

Matthew Iacono...Mister Rogers Fan (uncredited)

Kevin L. Johnson...Darin Scharf (uncredited)

Nathaniel Johnson...Waiter (uncredited)

William Kania...Orderly (uncredited)

Trudi Kennedy...Journalist (uncredited)

Rosie Koster...Esquire Employee (uncredited)

James Lloyd...Grip (uncredited)

Jack Marnoni...Gala Attendee (uncredited)

Michael Masini...Richie (uncredited)

Scott Matheny...Journalist (uncredited)

Kirsten McCain...Gala Attendee (uncredited)

Patrick McDade...Rick (uncredited)

Phil Nardozzi...Hospital Visitor (uncredited)

Mark Newara...Gala Attendee (uncredited)

Jackson Nunn...Grip (uncredited)

Trevor Stevie Ray Ontiveros...New Yorker (uncredited)

Keith Otto...Gala Attendee (uncredited)

Alex Perez...Parent (uncredited)

Katrina E. Perkins...Mr. Rogers Superfan (uncredited)

Jivan Xander Ramesh...Mr. Rogers' Fan (uncredited)

Scott Rapp...Bartender (uncredited)

Jordan Rhone...WQED Production Assistant (uncredited)

Edlyn Sabrina...Gala Guest (uncredited)

Laurie Sheppard...School Teacher on Subway (uncredited)

Ryan Sobota...Wedding Band Guitarist (uncredited)

Rebecca Watson...Diana (uncredited)

Stephen West-Rogers...Peter (uncredited)

Ted Williams...WQED Electrician (uncredited)

Frank Wilson...WQED Sound Technician (uncredited)

Raymond Wormack...WQED Grip & Crew (uncredited)

Produced by 

Micah Fitzerman-Blue...executive producer

Noah Harpster...executive producer

Youree Henley...producer

Leah Holzer...producer

Peter Saraf...producer

Wenxin She...co-producer

Bergen Swanson...executive producer

Marc Turtletaub...producer

Music by 

Nate Heller

Cinematography by 

Jody Lee Lipes

Film Editing by 

Anne McCabe

Casting By 

Avy Kaufman

Production Design by 

Jade Healy

Art Direction by 

Gregory A. Weimerskirch

Set Decoration by 

Merissa Lombardo

Costume Design by 

Arjun Bhasin

Makeup Department 

Ma Kalaadevi Ananda...makeup department head

Donita Miller...key hair stylist

Krista Montgomery...makeup artist

Eve Negley...makeup artist

Christopher Patrick...makeup artist

Jason Renner...hair stylist

Tony Ward...hair department head

Production Management 

Stephanie Blackwood...production supervisor: New York Unit

Richard E. Chapla Jr....production manager

Kelley Cribben...post-production supervisor

Alyssa Hanna Falarski...location production manager

Bergen Swanson...unit production manager

Second Unit Director or Assistant Director 

Alyssa Batchelor...second second assistant director

Tomas Deckaj...first assistant director

Steve Parys...second unit first assistant director

Susan Ransom-Coyle...second assistant director

Stephen Turselli...additional second assistant director

Jordan Weir...second second assistant director

Art Department 

Liz Barentine...Set Decoration Production Assistant

Carolina Barros...property assistant

Kip Bartlett...assistant property master

Edgar Um Bucholtz...set dresser

Shannon Dailey...miniatures

Jolene Dames...on set scenic

Teresa Donatelli...art department coordinator

Eugene Doyle...gang boss

Brad Fombelle...set dresser

Elliot Gardner...scenic artist

Will Giannotti...carpenter

Gregory Jones...key greens

Jennifer L. Kirkpatrick...set painter

Matthew M. McCloskey...set dresser

Jason Millet...storyboard artist

Buster Pile...construction coordinator

Adele Plauche...set designer

Philip Schneider...property master

Shawn Shelpman...set dresser

Craig Shoji...concept artist

Christopher St. Pierre...lead scenic

Mamie Stein...on set dresser

Aaron Streiner...leadman

Corey Sweazen...assistant art director

Brad Towell...graphic designer

Sound Department 

Aaron Austin...boom operator

Kristin Catuogno...adr recordist