I’ve Become “THAT” Woman

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?

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2016: Or the Year People Paid Me to Yell at Them….

For me, 2016 was a mixed bag of a year. While as an American citizen, 2016 was a shitty year (I would like to give a big middle finger to everyone who voted for Trump), as a journalist, 2016 was a banner year for me. If I could sum it up in one word, 2016 would be the year that people paid me to yell at them.

How so you ask?

Well, I started off the year by giving the keynote address at the American Theatre Critics Association’s annual conference. The full text is here.

Then I ended the year in Pittsburgh (what’s with me and Pennsylvania) leading a town hall about colorblind casting, where I gave another speech to an audience of about 150 people. The write-up of the event here.

In the middle were numerous panels and post-show talkbacks, which are all fairly new occurrences for me.

For 2017, I’ve already been confirmed to give the keynote address for the Mid-America Theatre Conference’s annual gathering in Houston in March 2017. Then there are couple of panels and gatherings I have been invited to that I have not confirmed yet. But suffice to say, I’m getting more comfortable with this whole speaking in public thing.

Other highlights of 2016:

I became a regular contributor to the Maxamoo theater review podcasting, and the year ended with me giving a pretty great rant on the state of the American theater, which you can listen to here.

I started a monthly column at American Theatre about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. You can read the entries here.

Speaking of columns, shoutout to my friends Mark Peikert and Jack Smart, who let me contribute twice a month to a column about the largest regional theaters in America. It started in September 2016 and the final column will end in February 2017. My contributions to it are here.

I’m currently at work on a few projects both at American Theatre and freelance that I’m excited to see light in 2017. It’s never dull when you’re a journalist.

Latest Diep Links

Now that I’m sequestered away in California for my winter vacation, and finished, for now, with my deadlines, I finally have time to update this website with links to my latest pieces.

I opine some more! This time about living room dramas and how I hate them unless they’re Hir by Taylor Mac.

Then I preview the 2016 Under the Radar Festival, for those who love experimental theater as much as I do.

Two episodes of American Theatre‘s Offscript podcast:

And last, but certainly not least, I preview what’s sure to be the next immersive theater hit: The Grand Paradise from Third Rail Projects for the New York freakin’ Times!

Finally, it’s not printed yet but I filed a piece three days ago about Danai Gurira for American Theatre. So check back here because I will inevitably put it on my website as soon as it’s online.