A few months ago, I was on the phone with a current Syracuse University student. As an alumnus of the university, I’ve been known to give advice to nervous students who are trying to figure out if they made the right choice going to graduate school (though I can’t say I’m the most reassuring voice, but I can say I’m a realistic one). Anyway, in that phone call, he told me that I was an “expert” in theatre. To which I thought, “huh, I guess I am. Damn.”
I’ve been on the theatre beat for six years now (though I consider it more like five because I didn’t do much writing in my years as an editorial assistant). And if journalists become an expert after writing three articles about a given subject, I guess at year 5, with two theatre keynote speeches under my belt, I’m a scholar. And when you are considered a scholar, an odd thing happens: other journalists, people you would consider your colleague, start using you as a source in their articles.
My year started out when Wei-Huan Chen of the Houston Chronicle asked me for my opinions on yellowface in opera. Which led to me being quoted in his article.
“If you don’t do the work, then you’re using art to justify whitewashing, erasure and the continued marginalization of people of color,” she said. “Blackface/yellowface/brownface is an abhorrent practice that should be abolished, and operas should be taking action towards abolishing those practices, instead of making excuses.”
Man, I say smart things sometimes.
Then Kat Chow of NPR’s Code Switch asked me about my opinions on Miss Saigon after reading my essay about how much I hate it. The episode is here.
Then the Los Angeles Times asked me to speak on diversity in the theatre. And Theatre Bay Area too (and they include my headshot, which I did not anticipate).
And then a local NPR station in Nevada (KNPR) asked me to speak about diversity in casting. I get a lot of airtime.
And then NPR (again) asked me to comment on Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 on Broadway after they read my essay on the show.
If 2016 was the year people paid me to yell at them, 2017 was the year I became an “expert” on theater. Now where’s my book deal?
Also, I feel like I shouldn’t have taken headshots when my hair was pink. Now that my hair is no longer pink, I may need to get new headshots. Or maybe no one actually notices? An artist friend suggested I used this photo as my new headshot. Who says journalists can’t be models?