Meet The Cast


In 2022 I was chosen as a finalist to participate in Spotify’s SoundUp Family and Kids podcast accelerator program. As a participant, I received close guidance and valuable feedback during the development phase of my show ‘What’s Poppin” Penny?’ I enjoy the support and mentorship of my program cohort, Sr. Manager, SoundUp, Jane Zumwalt, and my program podcast producer, Rebecca Cunningham, Award-winning kid’s podcast. Producer, CEO at Cordelia Studios, and Executive Producer & host at Girl Tales. When I’m not writing, casting, directing, co-editing and producing podcast episodes for my first season of What’s Poppin’ Penny?, you can find “Miss Toni” in schools educating young children with my puppet, Little Chick. It’s a thirty-minute interactive educational entertainment show with music and games designed to support parents’ and teachers’ preschool learning goals. I’ve also self-produced a children’s music cd. The eighteen original song cd, along with the children’s anthem, “Take Care’, by Miss Toni and the Macaroni Band, can be found on popular music streaming platforms. Please visit my website,, for show synopsis, videos, music, and more! “Preschool Family- The Musical” is a stage play I’ve written about the whimsical cast of parents and kids who belong to the fictional classroom of Head Teacher, Miss Toni, and her assistant teacher, a five foot nine inches tall hen, Miss Chicken. It is based on my cd of the same name. I dream it will be produced in children’s theaters for kids and families worldwide.


Mila is a natural talent in the early stages of exploring performance art. A gifted athlete, Mila excels at dance and acrobatics. Off stage, her interests include building, inventing, and caring for animals, especially her giant schnauzer, KoKo. Her favorite academic subjects are math and foreign languages. Mila lives with her mom, dad, and big sister, and enjoys a close relationship with doting grandparents who live nearby.


Neil is sought out for his memorable yet easygoing style. Before joining the cast of What’s Poppin’ Penny? podcast as Grandpa T.A. he was featured on BBQ Pitmasters, The Ultimate BBQ Showdown, BBQ Crawl, The Great Food Truck Race, Man Fire Food, and various local news segments. Being comfortable in front of the camera led to national commercials and a special appearance in The Wonderland Murders. He was also a spokesperson for Fresh & Easy markets and Cabo Wabo Tequila.Neil is funny, kind and compassionate, and all of these qualities shine through in his performance as Penny’s favorite Trusted Adult, T.A.


Bobbi Owens is a highly regarded voice over actor. She graces our What’s Poppin’ Penny? podcast with her warm, rich, versatile , distinctive voice, that is polished , powerful & perfectly nurturing in her role as Grandma Spicy! She has an impressive portfolio encompassing a wide range of performances on stage and in independent films. Bobbi is also a cartoonist and is the Writer/Creator of: MOUSE IN THE HOUSE (MITH) a Serial Cartoon/Comic.


Stephen A. Hart serves as the Director of Content Marketing at the SANS Institute, where he leads a talented team in delivering exceptional content. SANS is the world’s largest provider of information security- cybersecurity research, training, and security certification ( Beyond his work at SANS, Stephen is the founder and host of I Am Black Success® (formerly Trailblazers .FM), a highly acclaimed interview-style podcast that explores the journeys of today’s successful Black entrepreneurs and leaders. With over 200 episodes, this 7+ year podcast has blazed a trail and made a significant impact on Black professionals worldwide.


Paige is not only the voice of Penny’s mom, Zoe, she’s What’s Poppin’ Penny’s line producer and secondary lifeline to the project. Paige is also the beautiful voice singing the theme song. With a background in marketing and sales, she has been monumental in creating all viewing materials. Paige is a mother to two little girls, ages; 3 and 1. Having young children makes this project particularly near and dear to her.


Alisha Santiago is from Boca Raton Florida. She is a former flight attendant who loves to travel and baking and is a mom to two precious kitties Bovice and Chloe. Alisha’s stellar comic timing makes her the purrrfect choice to play Penelepaw, Penny’s “big sister” sweetie cat on What’s Poppin’ Penny? podcast.


Paul Kronk began his professional career nearly two decades ago, he has built an extensive client list of major label artists, large commercial accounts, and perhaps his favorite clients of all: the who’s-who of the South Florida music industry. Paul has engineered for many legendary producers and songwriters such as Tony Bongiovi (Ozzie Osbourne, Talking Heads, The Ramones), Ron St. Germain (311, Creed, Soundgarden, Tool), Charlie Calello (The Four Seasons, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Neil Diamond, Barbara Streisand), Sandy Linzer (The Four Seasons, The Toys, Backstreet Boys), Gary Benson (Barry Manilow, Shaggy, Maxi Priest, Barrington Levi), Doug Lubahn (The Doors, Billy Squier, Pat Benatar).



is in his 13th season with WBTT; he appeared in Broadway in Black in March 2022 and Joyful! Joyful! in December 2021. A talented actor and singer, Michael received stellar reviews and a Handy Award (Jay Handelman, Herald-Tribune) for his performance as Usnavi in WBTT’s 2017 production of In the Heights. He earned rave reviews for his impressive work in Marvin Gaye: Prince of Soul, Soul Man and Soul Crooners. He starred as Harry Belafonte in the Troupe’s 2014 hit, Harry and Lena, was Seymour in the 2015 blockbuster Little Shop of Horrors and played the title role in 2016’s The Wiz. Michael has performed many times in WBTT festival appearances, most recently at the 2022 National Black Theatre Festival in the production of Soul Crooners, Featuring Sistas in the Name of Soul. He has a featured role in Playing Through, a new movie about groundbreaking Black golf champion Ann Gregory. In 2014, Michael was awarded a prestigious John Ringling Towers Fund grant in the performing arts category by the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. In January 2019 he was honored with an Impact Award from Visible Men Academy in the Arts category. The awards “shine a light on visible men…who mentor, educate and inspire underserved boys in our community.


is an Indian-American writer of award-winning podcasts and television shows such as “The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel,” “Six Minutes,” the “Molly of Denali” podcast, Disney Italia’s “Game On” and CBS’s “Guiding Light.” Her writing credits also include The New York Times and Parents Magazine. Nidhi lives in the Greater New York City area with her husband and three miracle children. Aside from finding time to put away the laundry, her other favorite challenge is creating the perfect pizza crust recipe. She welcomes anyone to contest her to “Gilmore Girls” Trivia — as long as they promise not to cry when they lose. She still watches “Friends” every night to fall asleep. (Sorry, Chirag). Education: After graduating from St. John’s University with a degree in Pre-Med Bio, Nidhi shifted towards her interest in story-telling and television production. Finding an interest in the business of the film and television industry, Nidhi earned her M.B.A. from New York University in Entertainment, Technology & Media.


is the Founder and CEO of Cordelia Studios and an award-winning podcast producer. She started Girl Tales, a kids’ podcast of feminist stories, in 2017 and has since helped build podcasts for National Geographic, Spotify Kids & Family, America’s Test Kitchen, Einhorn’s Epic Productions, and tonies. She was recently honored with the Webby Award for Best Kids & Family Podcast Episode, The Kennedy Center’s Next 50 Award, and The Gotham/Variety Audio Honors for her work on Girl Tales.

Our Guest Stars in A Magical Family Reunion Episodes

Betty Reid Soskin as Great Aunt Jessie:

Betty Reid Soskin was a ranger with the National Park Service, until her retirement in 2022 at the age of 100. And she’s an American National Treasure! Betty’s documentary Sign My Name To Freedom highlights this iconic woman’s story as a wife, mother, artist, civil rights activist & leader, and a wonderful human with an indomitable spirit!

Alyana Reid as Magical Great Aunt Jessie

Alyana is Betty Reid’s granddaughter. She graduated from UC Irvine, where she studied Film. She currently works as a Quality Control Technician at Pixelogic Media where she oversees file delivery for Film & TV content. Prior to that she worked as a COVID-safety officer on film sets in Southern California.

Lanee as Young T.A's Mother

Lanee Blaise is dedicated to crafting uplifting, richly diverse stories for the big and small screen. She’s an accomplished television and film Screenwriter and also the Executive Producer for the TV series Blended. Lanee loves to write, but she never passes up the opportunity to talk! She’s a professional speaker who spends her time as a moderator for entertainment panels, keynote speaker, and Host of Imagine Yourself Podcast.

Luke as Young T.A.

Luke is an energetic, talented, fun-loving, and faith-filled child. He enjoys playing soccer, swimming, Cub Scouts, and Minecraft games. He is a budding artist who spends hours drawing dinosaurs, dragons and his favorite superhero Spider-man.

Renè Henry as Cousin Gwen

René Henry is an actor, singer, model, and voiceover actor. Originally from Washington, DC, she first discovered her love for performing at the age of two. Since getting her start in school plays and church choirs, René has gone on to perform in several professional stage plays. Most notably, she was recently seen in the off-Broadway musical The Picher Project. She made her feature film debut on 'Sweet Burn' now streaming on Tubi, she can be seen in the feature film ‘The Notorious Finster’ on Apple+, or heard on the audiobook “Wicked West, a Lit RPG” on Audible. She also starred in the recent short film 'Wonders' that is featured at the Black Girls Rock Film Festival 2024. An accomplished artist with many diverse talents, René is consistently honing her craft. After taking acting classes in college, she has gone on to study piano, voiceover acting; and is currently a student of Michael Luggio Coaching. René is also a pastry chef, Zumba instructor, a songwriter, and has fronted four different cover bands throughout her career. You could say that great talent runs in her blood; Rene is the grandniece of the American treasure, actress Cicely Tyson.

Brooklyn as Cousin Nori

Brooklyn is a bright and adventurous soul. She’s a burst of energy that often loves to break out in to song and dance around the house and during car rides. She loves Caring for farm animals such as goats, sheep and alpacas at a local farm. Brooklyn adores swimming year around. Her favorite academic subject is math. She’s an avid reader of graphic novels. She’s a social butterfly and deeply cherishes spending time with her family and friends. Her pop-pop, as she calls him, is her favorite person.