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A TDF Conversation with performing arts journalists JUAN MICHAEL PORTER II, JOSE SOLÍS and ALICIA RAMÍREZ reveals the challenges faced by critics of color.

Date: Jul 21, 2021


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Jose Solís, Alicia Ramírez and Juan Michael Porter II have a lot in common. All three are passionate about the performing arts and have written theatre articles and reviews for prestigious publications. They are also accustomed to often being some of the few non-white audience members at shows—but that is something they're actively working to change. 

In our latest TDF Conversation, these critics and activists discuss their careers, their hopes for the industry as it reopens, and their work to diversify theatre on the other side of the footlights. TDF’s Tyler Riley moderates this illuminating discussion. 

You can watch this urgent yet entertaining talk on TDFs Stages 

JUAN MICHAEL PORTER II is the staff writer for and a contributor to TDF Stages, Token Theatre Friends, Christian Science Monitor, American Theatre, Into More and SYFY Wire. He is a National Critics Institute and Poynter Power of Diverse Voices Fellow.

ALICIA RAMÍREZ is a New York-based entertainment journalist by way of Puerto Rico. Her work focuses on theatre, identity and culture. She has contributed to ELLE, NBC News, and TDF Stages, among other publications.

JOSE SOLÍS is a Honduran culture critic based in NYC. His work appears in The New York Times, American Theatre, TDF Stages, Backstage, 3 Views and America. He is the founder and director of the BIPOC Critics Lab, the second installment of which was hosted by the Kennedy Center. He is also the creator and host of Token Theatre Friends, a web series/podcast where he talks to influential theatre artists.

Other TDF Conversations include: 

Soft Power creators David Henry Hwang and Jeanine Tesori
LaChanze and Audra McDonald on Black Theatre United
Moulin Rouge! stars Aaron Tveit, Sahr Ngaujah and Ricky Rojas
Dancers and choreographers Aubrey Lynch II and Desmond Richardson
Ain’t Too Proud stars Jawan M. Jackson and Taylor Symone
Jagged Little Pill stars Lauren Patten and Celia Rose Gooding
Friends and collaborators Marsha Mason and Jack O’Brien
Company stars Matt Doyle and Etai Benson

You can watch all our TDF Conversations on our website:

Founded in 1968, TDF is a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, dedicated to bringing the power of the performing arts to everyone. TDF’s mission is to sustain live theatre and dance by engaging a broad and diverse audience and eliminating barriers to attendance. TDF fulfills its mission with a variety of programs that expand access, cultivate communities and support the makers of the performing arts. 

TDF is known for its theatregoing programs (including the TKTS by TDF Discount Booths and TDF Membership program); Accessibility programs (including open captioned, audio described and Autism Friendly Performances), Education & Engagement programs (serving more than 12,000 New York City students annually), as well as the TDF Costume Collection Rental and Research programs. TDF envisions a world where the transformative experience of attending live theatre and dance is essential, relevant, accessible and inspirational. To learn more about TDF, go to