University of Pittsburgh
September 15, 2011

Pitt to Host Panel on The Making of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Sept. 16

The show’s producers and actors give a behind-the-scenes look at how the show was produced
Contact:  412-624-4147


PITTSBURGH—Fans of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood will get a rare behind-the-scenes look at how this legendary children’s television show was produced as the University of Pittsburgh hosts a panel featuring Pitt alumnus and actor David Newell (CGS ’73), aka Mr. McFeely, and Pitt alumnus and the show’s associate producer Hedda Sharapan (SOC WK ’67)—both of whom worked with Fred Rogers from the earliest days of the show—at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 16 in the William Pitt Union Ballroom, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

The panel also includes Fred Rogers Company president Bill Isler and the show’s producer Margy Whitmer and actor and writer Elizabeth Seamans, aka Mrs. McFeely. Carl Kurlander, senior lecturer in Pitt’s Department of English in the School of Arts and Sciences and Steeltown Entertainment Project executive producer who wrote and produced more than 100 episodes for NBC’s Saved By the Bell franchise in the 1990s, will serve as moderator. 

The program is free and open to the public, but seating is limited; guests are asked to RSVP to

According to Kurlander, the group will be sharing stories of how the 895 episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood were produced, as well as lesser-known details about how the show was created and the unique relationship the program had with the University, especially with child development professor Margaret McFarland, a guiding force for Rogers as he sought to influence the lives of children.

Cosponsored by the Steeltown Entertainment Project and Pitt in Hollywood in association with Pitt’s Film Studies and Children’s Literature programs, this is the first in a year of Pitt in Hollywood events held to connect Pittsburgh talent with industry professionals.

For more information, contact Pitt in Hollywood president Ryan O’Shea at Pitt in Hollywood also is on Facebook.

The Steeltown Entertainment Project is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop a vibrant and sustainable entertainment sector in Southwestern Pennsylvania. For more information, visit