Theatre Producers of Color (TPOC) has announced the third year of its annual educational program “Producing 101.” Applications are now open to aspiring producers; the deadline to submit is Jan. 30.
Formed in 2020, TPOC is an organization dedicated to fostering the next generation of BIPOC stage producers through education, training and mentorship. Producing 101 is an 11-week course during which producing hopefuls learn the foundations of commercial production and development — from financing to budgeting and more. Experienced producers serve as guest speakers throughout the program. The class meets Monday evenings beginning on March 20.
This year, Tony Award-winning producer Sammy Lopez returns as the program mentor, having led the second cohort in 2022. Tony-winning producer Rashad V. Chambers led the inaugural class in 2021.
“Our goal for the TPOC cohort is to offer them the tools to build upon their producing passion and identify how they want to engage with the commercial theater industry,” Lopez told Broadway News. “We’ve had alumni get involved with new projects as lead producers, co-producers and investors — and that’s what we encourage!”
This year’s course will revolve around the case study musical “How to Dance in Ohio,” of which Lopez is a producer. The show premiered at Syracuse Stage in September 2022. Using the new musical as an example, Lopez and guest speakers will “focus on breaking down the creative development process, identifying the lead producer’s timeline for ‘first hires,’ bringing anti-racist practices to your work, highlighting the intersection of nonprofit and commercial producing, prioritizing accessibility and building your audience.”
Guest speakers this year include Chambers as well as Jill A. Anderson, Tony winner Osh Ashruf, Samuel Dallas, Tony winner Ken Davenport, Tony winner Ben Holtzman, Toni Isreal, Nicole Javanna Johnson, Tony winner Dale Mott, Doug Nevin, Leslie Papa, Ilene Rosen, Tony nominee Matt Ross, Erica Rotstein, Heather Shields, Ron Simons, Tony nominee Rachel Sussman, Cynthia J. Tong and Ava Xiao-Lin Rigelhaupt.
Past students have gone on to produce work on Broadway. Last season, Producing 101 graduates Eric Emauni, Jacqueline Flores and Naomi Horibe made their Broadway debuts as associate producers on “Dana H.” and “Is This a Room.” This season, Cherine E. Anderson, Anant Ddas, Marina Montesanti, Alexander Robertson, Riza Takahashi as well as Emauni are co-producers of “A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical.” Das, Robertson and program alumni Afsheen Misaghi and Carmen A. Quiñones formed DMQR Productions, which is credited as a co-producer on “The Piano Lesson.”
In thinking about the next contingent, Lopez said, “We are looking for theatermakers who aim to lead with their values and bring a curiosity for understanding the industry as it currently operates — while dreaming to build the industry they want to create.”
“By the end of this course, we hope every cohort member has a better understanding of their personal producing philosophies and how that manifests in developing new stories from new perspectives.”
TPOC is incubated and supported by the organization Broadway for All.