Diep Tran and Jose Solís see a lot of theatre. On a yearly basis, we see anywhere from 150 to 300 shows (each!). And that’s not including the movies, TV shows, video games, and books that they consume in their spare time. And we love talking about all of those things with our friends. That’s why we created Token Theatre Friends; it’s a virtual gathering place to talk about the art that we love, because watching a show is one thing, but debating it with your friends is the most fun part.
Here we’ll be posting our weekly podcast as well as original essays and reported articles (you can watch the OG 52 episodes of our show produced by American Theatre here.) And all of it will be through a person of color lens. Token Theatre Friends wants to reimagine how we talk about the arts. We want to open the conversation to include people of different races, genders, sexual orientations, or with disabilities, and to address their concerns with knowledge, understanding, and sensitivity.
We want to focus on the viewpoints of creators who don’t get enough love in the mainstream. We want to explain how cultural trends are connected, how theatre influences film influences music influences food influences you. We want to ask artists questions they never get asked anywhere else, like what do they think of the government pandemic response, and when was the first time they saw themselves on stage?
For us art isn’t just entertainment, it should be political, with a strong point of view, as it affects the way we see ourselves and the people around us. We want to give the shows we see the intense consideration and examination that the people making them did.
Who are the Token Theatre Friends?
Diep Tran is a journalist/critic/editor whose writing has appeared in The New York Times, Time Out New York, Backstage, CNN, NBC Asian America, Hello Giggles, Salon, TDF Stages, and many more. Her day jobs have included being the features editor of Broadway.com and senior editor of American Theatre magazine. She’s a 2020 Obie Awards judge and a 2020 Drama Desk Awards voter. She was born in Vietnam and is the daughter to some badass Vietnam War refugees. In her spare time, she’s a mom to many plants and a tuxedo cat named Viola (yes that’s a Twelfth Night reference!). She met Hillary Clinton once.
Jose Solís is a Honduran critic based in NYC.
His writing has appeared in The New York Times, TDF Stages, Backstage, American Theatre, 3 Views, America Magazine, and more. He wanted to become a critic since he was 10 and became obsessed with classic Hollywood movies. He will always adore his grandma, and dad for raising him on Fellini, Hitchcock, Pasolini, Bergman, and Technicolor musicals. He began writing professionally at age 16 when he started his first website. After moving to NYC he fell in love with theatre and sees around 300 shows a year. He’s on the board of the Drama Desk, and is a member of the Online Film Critics Society, the Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics, and the Latino Entertainment Journalists Association.