Theatre Producers of Color Announces 2023 Cohorts

Aspiring producers are able to learn the fundamentals of commercial producing, including development paths, financing, budgeting, and more.

By: Mar. 20, 2023
Theatre Producers of Color Announces 2023 Cohorts
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Theatre Producers of Color, the newly formed organization committed to supporting the next generation of BIPOC producers by providing access to education, training, and mentorship, announced their 2023 cohort for the third-annual education program - "Producing 101," where aspiring producers are able to learn the fundamentals of commercial producing, including development paths, financing, budgeting, and more, with experienced BIPOC and White ally leaders as their guides, tuition free over 11 weeks.

After receiving the most applications in the program's history, the accepted 2023 cohorts will include, Tẹmídayọ Amay, Gustavo Blaauw, Kahari Blue, Regina De Vera, José Hugo Hurtado, Averi Israel, Sukhjit Khalsa, Seonjae Kim, Zoë Kim, Nicole Kwan, Sierra Lancaster, Joshua Lee, Marla Louissaint, Esmé Maria Ng, CJ Ochoco, Michela Rodriguez, Lainie Sakakura, Simone Tetrault, Bibiana Torres, Michael Thanh Tran, Cindy Tsai, Natalie Tucker, Miho Ueno, Angelica Vicens, Alexandria Wailes.

This year's selection panelists include Salman Al-Rashid, Victor Cervantes, Anant Das, Cynthia Dorsey, Arysbells Figueredo, Leah Harris, Yesenia Garcia Herrington, Vanessa Immink, Celia Kaleialoha Kenney, Sergio Mexia, Afsheen Misaghi, Phoebe Moore, Irene Laziridis, Sujotta Pace, Carmen Quiñones, Alexander Robertson, Jacob Santos, Ariana Sarfarazi, Malkia Stampley, and Riza Takahashi.

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Since their beginning in 2021, "Producing 101" alumni have come from all over the world (New Zealand, Toronto, China, Japan, USA, and more) and 51 are currently rising through the ranks of the Broadway and off-Broadway business. Some recent achievements of the cohorts include: Four alumni make their Broadway debuts as co-producers on the hit revival of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson and A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical; three alumni made their Broadway debuts as associate producers on Dana H. and Is This A Room; and one alumnia, Cynthia Dorsey, was named the 2022/2023 Prince Fellow.

Producer Sammy Lopez (A Christmas Carol, Be More Chill) will serve as the overall program mentor, creating a safe space for learning and providing the guidance necessary for participants to become future leaders in the commercial theatre industry.

Guest speakers for the 2023 "Producing 101" program include Jill A. Anderson, Osh Ashruf (Tony Winner), Rashad V. Chambers (Tony Winner), Samuel Dallas, Ken Davenport (Tony Winner), Ben Holtzman (Tony Winner), Toni Isreal, Nicole Javanna Johnson, Dale Mott (Tony Winner), Doug Nevin, Leslie Papa, Ilene Rosen, Matt Ross (Tony Nominee), Erica Rotstein, Heather Shields, Ron Simons, Rachel Sussman (Tony Nominee), Cynthia J. Tong, and Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt.

Using the new Broadway-bound musical How to Dance in Ohio as a case study throughout the course, participants will gain experience from the team involved in bringing the show to the stage. Additionally, each cohort member will select one of their own projects, or, choose a show currently on Broadway, and practice implementing some of the tools that will be shared over the 11 weeks - such as creating project pitch materials for investors and co-producers, navigating the uncertain financial climate of the pandemic, and identifying the most viable development steps for their projects.

The course will meet on Mondays from 6:30-9:00pm EST beginning this March 20, 2023 through June 19, 2023.

TPOC is incubated and supported by Broadway For All (BFA), an organization that provides young artists and stakeholders in entertainment with the programming, community, and vision to build a more inclusive and powerful arts industry.


Theatre Producers of Color (TPOC) is a multifaceted collective of theatremakers joined together in support of the next generation of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) producers by providing access to education, training, and mentorship. TPOC was born out of the necessity to diversify the pool of commercial producers on and off Broadway. Having observed many barriers keeping BIPOC out of commercial producing, specifically the lack of education, training and mentorship, TPOC strives to break down these barriers and make producing more accessible for a variety of voices. Learn more at


Broadway For All (BFA) is a Manhattan-based national organization providing young artists and stakeholders in entertainment with the programming, community, and vision to build a more inclusive and powerful arts industry. Founded in 2012 through Harvard University's Presidential Public Service Fellowship program, BFA initially set out to diversify the stage and screen through a free intensive summer conservatory prioritizing education, access, and exposure. Today, BFA operates its flagship conservatory, including tracks in Digital Content Creation, Dramatic Writing, Musical Theater, and Drama; "BFA 365" to coach students applying to arts education programs; and "Access For All," to connect historically excluded communities to experiences in theater and arts entertainment. Learn more at



(they/he) is a Black Trans Non-Binary director, producer, writer, actor, and queer activist born and raised in Washington, DC. They have been featured in American Theatre Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Theaterly, among other publications. PRODUCER: She Speaks to the Trees, co-produced with Longacre Lea; The Annual Late Nite Arts Explosion. Tẹmídayọ Amay is the founder and executive producer of PILOT, a producer's collective dedicated to championing queer Black Liberation through TV and film. They are a founding board member of BAC and TEMPO: where they act as producing chair. Temidayo Amay is a member of Ring of Keys, MAESTRA, and MUSE. They are a Helen Hayes Award winning performer, and have worked alongside Classic Stage Company, MCC Theater, Roundhouse Theatre, Classical Theatre of Harlem, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Signature Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Instagram: temidayoma

Gustavo Blaauw

(he/they) is a Brazilian producer, director, and multimedia artist. His work has been seen in commercial, educational and non-profit theaters in New York and around the globe (Brazil, London, Mexico, Japan). He currently produces performances for the directing graduate program at Columbia University.


is a performer, writer and producer from New Haven, Connecticut. As a performer, he has been seen off-Broadway in Howard Barker's Pity in History at Atlantic Stage 2 with PTP/NYC and has performed as the lead vocalist for various bands on stages across the Northeast. He has worked on Peter Brooks's Why, Maria Irene Fornes's Fefu and her Friends, and Shakespeare's Timon of Athens at Theater for a New Audience as part of their "New Deal" marketing team, selling tickets to individuals under the age of 30 to help cultivate a new generation of theater patrons. He graduated summa cum laude from Middlebury College with a BA in Theatre and minors in Education and African American Studies. During his time at Middlebury, he developed a new course offering on contemporary African American Playwrights to help diversify and decolonize the department's curriculum. Outside of his work in the theater, he is a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion ("DE&I") professional who has worked for Fortune 500 companies as well as technology startups. He is honored to be in TPOC's third cohort and thrilled to continue his mission of sharing original stories with new and diverse audiences.


(she/her) completed her MFA in Acting at The Juilliard School (2019), where she was a recipient of the Raul Julia Memorial Scholarship in Drama and the Juilliard Career Advancement Fellowship. Prior to Juilliard, she was a resident actor of the Cultural Center of the Philippines' resident theatre company for five years. She won the 2013 Gawad Buhay! PHILSTAGE Award as "Outstanding Female Lead" for her work as Portia/">Portia in a Filipino adaptation of The Merchant of Venice. She made her U.S. theatrical debut at The Old Globe, a Tony award-winning regional theatre in San Diego, CA, by playing the lead in The Underpants (2019) by Steve Martin. In 2022, Regina made her Philippine directorial debut at the 17th Virgin Labfest Festival, a festival of new one-act plays by Filipino playwrights. She is currently working on her first job as Acting Coach and Intimacy Coordinator for a full length feature entry at the Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival (2023). Apart from acting, directing, and intimacy work, Regina hopes to branch into producing to facilitate her advocacy in empowering South East Asian narratives and artists.


(he/him) is a Chicano multidisciplinary artist based in New York City, originally from San Diego, CA. Jose is the Special Artistic Programs Coordinator at The Public Theater and works directly with the Mobile Unit and Public Shakespeare Initiative (PSI) to provide accessible theater for all. He is a 2023 member of Theater Producers of Color's inaugural cohort. His directing experience includes The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity (NYU's Latinx Artist Collective), Ubu Rock (NYU's New Studio on Broadway), Bad Hombres, Good Wives (NYU Theatre 104), A Winter's Tale (San Diego's The Old Globe Theater), and various projects in Playwrights Horizons Theatre School. Notable acting credits: The Old Globe; A Midsummer Night's Dream (Demetrius), Twelfth Night (Orsino). Workshops: Playwrights Horizons; Tell Me If I'm Hurting You by Jeremy O. Harris. José aims to make the performing arts more accessible to lower income communities as he believes the arts truly do make a difference. He holds a BFA in the Dramatic Arts, with a producing minor, from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Para mi familia, siempre.

Averi Israel

is a writer/director from the eight cities that raised her. She moved to New York to pursue a Film Studies degree from Columbia University, where she graduated as the class recipient of the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts. Shortly after, she moved to South Korea where she set designed a production for Seoul Shakespeare Company. Back in NYC, she trained as an actor at Circle in the Square, UCB, as well as with the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, and performed at The Tank, The New Ohio, and Columbia University. As a writer, her pieces for stage and film consist primarily of historical fiction works highlighting obscured corners of the Black experience and those that incorporate elements of Afrofuturism, seeking to root our contemporary moment in both its foundational past and visionary future. Averi is a 2022 recipient of the New York Foundation of the Arts and Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment NYC Women's Fund for Media Music and Theatre and a 2023 Athena Film Festival Writers Lab participant.


is a creative producer with a background in performing & writing. Her work as a multi-form artist for the last ten years has been recognized at the Performing Arts WA Awards (2020), Mona Brand Writing Awards (2022), Young Australian of the Year (2022), and WA Multicultural Awards (2022). Her passion for storytelling began as a finalist in the Australian Poetry Slam (2014), semi-finalist on Australia's Got Talent (2016) and winner of The Moth GrandSLAM (2019). Sukhjit spoke at TedxUWA (2017), TedxNewtown (2019) and has supported Missy Higgins and L-FRESH the Lion on their national tours. Her poetry and community arts projects have led her to tour globally and across her nation. Sukhjit premiered her sell-out theatre show FULLY SIKH with Barking Gecko Theatre Company and BLACK SWAN Theatre Company (2019). Sukhjit is currently a story-telling trainer at the Centre for Stories and has produced storytelling and theatre projects for adults and school students. "COLLECTABLES," her debut hip-hop single will be released in March 2023 and she is also launching her production company later this year.


is a Korean-American Storyteller who is passionate about creating art that encourages humanity, compassion, and kindness. She is the Founder of Seoulful Productions (, a Korean-American women-led, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose primary mission is to tell the stories of the Korean-American diaspora through our own lived experiences for theatre, tv & film. Additionally, she is the New Work Development Manager at The Public Theater and an Anti-Racist Theatre Facilitator. As an Actor, her recent credits include Eureka Day, Motherf**ker with the Hat, The Winter's Tale (Shakespeare's Globe in London), 4000 Miles, The King's Language (world premiere), and No Returns (AFI Film). As a Writer, her play DID YOU EAT? will have its world premiere at The 2023 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Edinburgh, Scotland. She also wrote screenplays for PHONE CALL, MEET ME AT A FUNERAL (MMF), DO YOU WANNA BE WHITE?, and multiple episodes of "Blue Match Comedy." As a Filmmaker, MMF and PHONE CALL became official selections at various film festivals and have won her multiple awards including EMERGING FILMMAKER, BEST COMEDY, and BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE. IG: @thezoekim


(she/her) is an editor, writer, and digital content strategist. She's been involved with Opening Act, a nonprofit focused on arts education through free after-school improv-based theater programming, since 2013. She served as co-chair for the Junior Board before joining the Board of Directors in 2021. In 2018, Nicole produced Kit Yan and Melissa Li's new musical, Interstate, for the New York Musical Festival. Currently, she's the Editorial Director at Verywell Health, a Dotdash Meredith brand. At Dotdash Meredith, she is on the steering committee for the AAPI Collective employee resource group for AAPI employees. Nicole is a graduate of Northwestern University and is based in Manhattan.


(she/her) is an Indian-American producer, performer, director, and arts advocate based in NYC. Originally from Omaha, NE, and a graduate of the Boston Conservatory at Berklee (BFA Musical Theatre, '22), Sierra currently serves as the Artistic Programming Coordinator at the Tony Award winning Broadway Advocacy Coalition. Sierra is the founder of and executive producer at Samuel-Lancaster Productions, a company she created to uplift the voices and stories of members of the Global Majority, and use storytelling to dismantle systemic racism and oppression within the American Theatre. In the fall of 2021, Sierra made her Broadway debut as a co-producer on Antoinette Nwandu's Pass Over.

Joshua Lee

is a graduate of Harvard University where he studied Computer Science, Economics, and Mandarin Chinese. After working in Venture Capital post-grad, he made his Broadway debut as Timmy X on KPOP and is embarking on a new chapter that combines his love for the arts, business, and finance.

Marla Louissaint

(aka Marla Lou) is a Haitian born visionary making the revolution irresistible as an award winning performer, internationally published model, and abolitionist community organizer as the Founder and CEO of Claim Our Space NOW.


(they/she/he) is an early-career, NYC-based playwright, dramaturg, and occasional actor of Cantonese and Scottish descent, whose work focuses on the complexities of Asian American history, queerness and the family unit. Through writing plays, Esmé seeks to embody the phenomenon of laughing at/through the pain, finding joy in inappropriate moments, with often-understated-sometimes-surrealist aesthetics and complicated characters. As a script reader, Esmé has advocated for new plays by underrepresented artists at Manhattan Theatre Club, Breaking the Binary Theatre, and Playwrights Realm. Their plays have been presented by the Snug Harbor Porch Plays Festival, the Women's Playwrights Collective, Staten Island Shakespeare Theater Company, and Wesleyan University Writers Circle. Plays include: Pearl Dust from a Gun (Eugene O'Neill Semi-Finalist, Wesleyan University Honors in American Studies), In Loving Memory (Wesleyan Writers Circle), F*cking Harold (WPC Not Forgotten Play Festival, Wesleyan Writers Circle), and First Day (Snug Harbor Porch Plays Festival). Esmé is currently the Paul A. Kaplan Literary Trainee at Manhattan Theatre Club.


is a Guam-raised theatre creative who currently travels between Nashville, Guam, and everywhere in-between. She earned her BA in Fine Arts: Theatre from the University of Guam (2016) and her Masters of Arts Leadership and Cultural Management through Colorado State University (2019). CJ enjoys wearing many hats. While her first passion was stage management, she has found joy in producing, arts administration, playwriting, and even bass playing for Guam band "Friends with Instruments." From the University of Guam Theatre to the Guam International Film Festival to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, CJ has been involved with various arts organizations. In 2018, she helped found a nonprofit on Guam, Breaking Wave Theatre Company, where she serves as the President and primary Producer for the company. CJ believes in the healing power of the arts, and she believes that healing can begin when everyone has the space and opportunity to share their stories. She aims to use her skills to create and elevate diverse storytelling, on stage and behind it.


is a creative administrator who hails from San Diego, California. Currently, she is an Associate Producer and Coordinator for the New York office of Mark Gordon Pictures, which develops and produces television, film, and theater in the US and the UK. Previously, she was the Manager of Artistic Development at MCC Theater. She has also held administrative fellowships and internships at New York Theatre Workshop, Siti Company, WP Theater, and New Georges.

Lainie Sakakura

a NYC based Japanese American, multi hyphenate theater maker, award winning choreographer (2002 Joseph Jefferson Award & 2015 Joe A. Callaway Award), eldest daughter of a Japanese American Internment Camp survivor (father) and immigrant mother. Broadway: Dance Reconstruction & Onstage Dance Captain FOSSE (1999 Tony Award Best Musical), original cast 6 Broadway shows. Long time advocate for diversity and inclusion in the performing arts. Conceived & Directed, MY BROADWAY AAPI STORY: BREAKING BARRIERS, Lincoln Center Public Library for the Performing Arts (TOFT); Book, CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET (musical adaptation of NY Times Bestseller, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, music & lyrics by Paul Fujimoto). Ms. Sakakura has produced 42 productions highlighting multicultural stories. Directed works in NYC at Cherry Lane Theatre, Peter Jay Sharp Theatre, Bruno Walter Auditorium, Neighborhood Playhouse, SummerStage Central Park, The Duplex, Don't Tell Mama, Theatre 71. Serves on non-profits: Rockettes of Color Alumnae, Co-Founder/Co-Chair; NY Theater Barn, Advisory Board; Asian American Arts Alliance's 2023 Jadin Wong Fellowship review panel; Abingdon Theatre Company's Alvin Ing Scholarship Award, Founder/Chair; Sakachez® (fiscally sponsored by New York Live Arts), Co-Founder/Co-Director with Alex Sanchez. Mother of two strong Japarican daughters, Avelina and Isabela.


is a writer, director, and creative producer who tells stories about power, responsibility, and resilience. Drawing equally from postmodern dance-theatre influences and her classical ballet roots, movement is often at the center of her experimental performances and films. Through the interplay of metaphysics, poetic expression, and scientific fascinations, Simone's work seeks to build bridges and ultimately explores what lies at the core of human existence in performances filled with gravity, humor, stage magic, and love. Her work has been presentednat at NYC's Abrons Arts Center, Access Theatre, and THEATERLAB, in Los Angeles at Griffith Observatory, Japanese American National Museum, Zephyr Theatre, and DURDENANDRAY. Simone's 2020 dance short Letters to the Universe was presented at Lacuna Festivals in Spain, and her 2021 project New Encounters was supported by the European Commission's i-Portunus mobility fund, the Volta Festival, and Goethe Institute of London. Simone is the Artistic Director and co-founder of Centrifuge Arts, a founding member of the international directors collective El Encuentro, and a proud member of SciArt Initiative and Contemporary Performance Network. She currently serves on the board of the National Women's Theatre Festival.

Michael Thanh Tran

(he/him) is a multi-disciplinary theatre artist currently based in St. Louis, Missouri. Born to Vietnamese refugees, he is a proud advocate for Asian American representation onstage and onscreen. Through his work he hopes to cultivate greater intersectional diversity in the performing arts sector, nurture growth within communities, find new ways to foster audience engagement, affect new change through innovative theatrical exploration and connect diverse, multi-generational audiences. As an actor, he has had the opportunity to perform at the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, The Muny and many more. Learn more about Michael and his work at


Born in New Orleans and raised in Los Angeles, Cindy a Taiwanese and Chinese-American performer and producer. She grew up in the San Gabriel Valley - raised in the 626 - with a passion for art in all its forms. BFA Musical Theatre, Minor in Critical Race and Ethnicities. Cindy was Ars Nova's Development Fellow in Spring 2022, on the producing team of the NYCLU's Sing Out For Freedom 2022, and currently serves as the Producing Intern for Octopus Theatricals and Producer Hub. Recent performing work: THE CHINESE LADY at Central Square Theater (u/s Afong Moy), WE WON'T SLEEP aka JEANNETTE workshop at Signature Theatre, NYCLU's Sing Out for Freedom at NYC Town Hall. Recent producing work: Broadway for Racial Justice Sings: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill at the Amph on Little Island, 4/4 by Heesun Hwang, THIS IS THE HOUR: Under Our Own Pen with ZAPI Artists. IG: @cindyctsai |

Natalie Graves TUCKER

is a communications professionals actor, writer, voiceover artist, and Founder of Blackstage DC. In addition to numerous commercials and voiceovers, she has appeared on DC-area stages such as Studio Theatre, Theater Alliance, African Continuum Theatre, Folger Theatre, and 1st Stage. Natalie walked away from a 20-year marketing career at AARP to pursue acting full time. Then a pandemic happened. She is currently the Executive Director of Artomatic, the Director of Communications at Riverside Church of New York and was most recently the Director of Marketing at the Vineyard Theatre. She has a B.A. degree in Speech Communications from University of Maryland at College Park and a Master's degree in Social Work/Social Service Administration from Howard University. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta and divides her time between New York and Maryland. She has no regrets.


(she/her) is a Japanese stage manager currently based in London, United Kingdom. She has previously worked as a stage manager at Tokyo Disney Resort and Royal Caribbean Cruises, where she managed shows, ceremonies, and various types of events. After working as an event organizing specialist for G20 Summit at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Japan, she pursued her passion for musicals and worked on productions such as Dreamgirls, West Side Story, and Bring It On. She is currently in stage management for Hamilton in the West End and holds a BA in Production and Technical Arts from London Academy of Music and Drama (LAMDA).


is a Florida born Puerto Rican, musician, comedy enthusiasts, and superhero geek building a career to run the entertainment world. Whether it is through her performance work, directing, writing, or producing; she is always creating. A strong believer that entertainment has the power to educate and inspire an audience. Storytelling is the most powerful weapon we have in fighting "The Empire." Development Associate, LCT Angels and Special Events at Lincoln Center Theater. Associate Producer, THE LAST MATCH: A Pro-Wrestling Rock Musical. Associate Producer, IT HAPPENED IN KEY WEST. Founder/Artistic Director, Makes Sense Theatrics.

Alexandria Wailes

Broadway: for colored girls... (Booth) Deaf West's Spring Awakening (Lena Horne Theater), Big River (Roundabout). Off Broadway: I Was Most Alive with You (Playwrights Horizons), A Kind Of Alaska (New York Live Arts). Regional: Oedipus (The Getty Villa), Our Town (Pasadena Playhouse), Gruesome Playground Injuries (Mixed Blood). TV: "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "High Maintenance," "Little America," "Nurse Jackie," "The Flash." Associate choreographer on Deaf West's Spring Awakening. Director of Artistic Sign Language: Broadway's Children of a Lesser God and King Lear. Television: "This Close" seasons 1 & 2; "Quantico" season 3, Film: A Quiet Place 1 & 2, Wonderstruck, and CODA (2022 multiple Academy Award winner). Awards: 2022 Chita Rivera winner, 2020 Obie winner, 2020 Lucille Lortel nominee, 2022 Disability Futures Fellowship.


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