In Episode 0234, Gordon and Big Bird help her find her lost parakeet, and in Episode 0256, Maria helps out during the sanitation strike, teaches Spanish words in song, and sings "Here Are Some Things" with food from Puerto Rico. The following season, a character named Maria played by Sonia Manzano joined the regular cast.
Pinza's other credits include appearing in The Believers (with Martin Sheen), the fictitious Charlie Parker biopic Sweet Love, Bitter, the ABC afterschool special Santiago's Ark (with Reuben Figueroa), and roles on The Equalizer, Guiding Light, and Law & Order.
She also served as the lead dancer for the Butlerloff Dance Company at the age of fourteen, and was invited by Truman Capote to play a role in a revival of his musical House of Flowers (where she wrote the dialogue for her character). She went on to feature in several Broadway shows, originating the role of Julia in Two Gentlemen of Verona (with Raúl Juliá). Pinza also wrote the stage play Shakespeare Give Us a Clue, wrote a screenplay called Bring Back the Clowns, and penned the three book series Ziggy's Mundo. Founder of Luminous Visions Inc, she's also a journalist, talk show host, producer, and director.