What Is the Future of Theater Podcasting?

Talking with Peter Marks, Diep Tran and Jose Solis on their new podcasts and why criticism shouldn't be as white as "an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog."

(l to r) Critics Peter Marks, Diep Tran and Jose Solis. Photos: The Washington Post, John Nguyen and Joseph Hernandez.

Today on The Scene I’m joined by Leonard Jacobs, founder and executive editor of The Clyde Fitch Report, and three theater critics who are podcasting: Peter Marks, Diep Tran and Jose Solis. Marks has served as chief drama critic for the Washington Post since 2002; he’s also one of three critics — with Terry Teachout of the Wall Street Journal and freelancer Elisabeth Vincentelli — on American Theatre’s podcast Three on the Aisle. Tran serves as American Theatre’s senior editor, and Jose Solis is a prolific freelance critic; together they’re podcasting and hosting the web series Token Theatre Friends, also presented by American Theatre, which brings the perspectives of people of color to the performing arts.

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In this two-part episode, we’ll discuss how podcasting, along with web series and other media, are changing the ways people relate to both theater and the people who cover it. We’ll look at how technology can be used to broaden audiences for theater, especially toward younger people and audiences of color, and why a critic lineup should never, as Tran says, have the “whiteness of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog.”

Both of these conversations were really informative for me, and I hope they will be for you, too. Whether you’re a casual theatergoer or someone more into the nuts and bolts of the industry, these critics offer a wealth of advice on how to think more critically about what you see, what you read and whose perspectives you’re hearing from. Part one will be Leonard and me speaking with Marks (who called from the Aspen Ideas Festival, hence the mountain jokes), and part two will be me with Tran and Solis.

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