Event Details
  • Town Hall Open Discussion: Helping Artists of Color
    February 21, 2023
    6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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Town Hall (live): What Can We Do to Help Theater Artists of Color?

Tuesday, February 21 - networking at 6:30 pm, open forum starts at 7:00pm ET
Polaris North Theatre, 245 W. 29th Street, 4th floor, NYC

Our return to our live monthly panels/discussions, with a simultaneous streaming for our friends outside of New York City. (Everyone should receive the zoom link when you register. If you don't receive it, email TRUnltd@aol.com to request link.)

Last fall, after a tumultuous year and a half of shutdown, we witnessed a surge of progress in BIPOC representation within the theater industry. Subsequently several new plays that opened on Broadway were by African American playwrights, as well as the debut of the first Korean pop musical. Off-Broadway and LORT regional theaters were announcing their most diverse seasons ever. The Dramatists Guild forged a groundbreaking inclusion rider. Are things actually going in the right direction? How can the initial momentum be sustained? What triumphs still need to be amplified?  What issues, institutional and individual, need to be addressed?

TRU Diversity is offering a series of town halls devoted to addressing the concerns of BIPOC members of the theater community. Our co-hosts for this evening will be Ariel Estrada, founder, producing artistic director of Leviathan Lab; Malini Singh McDonald, of Theatre Beyond Broadway and Black Henna Productions, director and producer; Tara Moses, director, multi award-winning playwright, artistic director of Red Eagle Soaring, co-founder of Groundwater Arts, advisory board member of Broadway for Racial Justice; Janel C. Scarborough, producer/creative investor (Single Black Female, Thoughts of a Colored Man, Tony nominated revival for colored girls...), co-founder TRU Diversity; and Ron Simons of SimonSays Entertainment, producer (Thoughts of a Colored Man, Death of a Salesman revival, Ain't Too Proud, for colored girls... revival; 4-time Tony winner for A Gentleman's Guide ..., The Gershwin's Porgy and Bess revival, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike and Jitney). The forum will be moderated by TRU co-founder and vice-president Cheryl Davis and TRU co-founder and executive director Bob Ost.  

The goal of these discussions is to elicit proactive conversations that can benefit artists, producers, administrators, and our industry. We invite all members of the diverse BIPOC theater community to join us and welcome allies to attend.


    is Webby Award-winning producer, actor, writer, and advocate for Asian American Pacific Islander performing artists. As an actor, he has performed on television, film, commercials, digital media, and Off-, and Off-Off-Broadway. As a producer, Ariel is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director for Leviathan Lab, a nonprofit creative studio for Asian American performing artists. As an arts administrator, he is the Associate Director of the Theatre Program at Fordham University, and the Marketing & Membership Director for the Consortium of Asian American Theaters and Artists. His leadership has been recognized by artEquity, New York Foundation for the Arts, and Theatre Communications Group. arielestrada.com | leviathanlab.com | LI: /arielestrada


    has been involved in the arts for her entire life. A passionate and experienced artist and producer, Malini has twenty years of practical experience in the NYC theatre scene. She‚Äôs served the theatre in many aspects of which she‚Äôs very proud ‚Äď actress, director, producer, stage manager, costume designer, prop designer, theatre reviewer, publicist, radio presenter, and writer/monologist. In 2003, Malini and her husband, Ian McDonald, created¬†Black Henna Productions with a handful of innovative artists. Every member of the company collaborates on every piece, either writing, acting, directing, designing, or filling any other role that fits their own personal skills with a commitment bringing new, exciting, and challenging theatre to the world.¬†In July 2012, Malini created¬†Theatre Beyond Broadway, a platform that promotes and supports independent artists, groups and productions produced beyond the bright lights of Broadway. TBB is a community representing over 1000 artists; a podcast featuring interviews with theatre professionals including Broadway producers, executive directors, career coaches, playwrights, and more; a resource which includes reviews and highlights of artists work; productions of original works; and programs educating students on making better choices in campus life through theatre and creating leadership qualities (Beyond Broadway, After School Theater Empowerment Program (‚ÄúA STEP‚ÄĚ).¬†


    is a citizen of Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, Mvskoke, director, award-winning playwright, Artistic Director of Red Eagle Soaring, and co-Founder of Groundwater Arts. She is a Participant in New York Stage and Film’s inaugural NYSAF NEXUS project (2021); a Cultural Capital Fellow with First Peoples Fund (2020); fellow with the Intercultural Leadership Institute (18/19); member of the Directors Lab at Lincoln Center (2017); recipient of the Thomas C. Fichandler Award (2016); associate member of SDC; and Dramatists Guild member. She is as an MFA Directing Candidate Brown University/Trinity Rep. www.taramoses.com


    received the Kleban Award as a librettist for her musical¬†Barnstormer, (written with Douglas J. Cohen) about Bessie Coleman, the first Black woman flyer. The show received a Jonathan Larson Award through the Lark Play Development Center. Her play¬†Maid‚Äôs Door¬†received great reviews,¬†won seven Audelco Awards, and was a finalist for the Francesca Primus Prize. Her play¬†The Color of¬†Justice (commissioned by Theatreworks/USA), received excellent reviews in the New York Times and Daily News, and tours regularly.¬†Her musical¬†Bridges, which was commissioned by the Berkeley Playhouse, received its world premiere in February 2016 to great reviews and three award nominations from the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle.¬†She received a Writers‚Äô Guild Award for her work on ‚ÄúAs the World Turns‚ÄĚ, and was¬†also¬†nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award. Her work has been read and performed internationally, including at the Cleveland Play House, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the Kennedy Center.¬†¬†She is the General Counsel of the Authors Guild.


    is a four-time Tony Award-winning producer, four-time Sundance Film Festival selected producer and actor of stage, film and television. Ron is also the Founder and CEO of SimonSays Entertainment - A Film & Theatre production company with a mission to Tell Every Story™. SimonSays tells stories that examine the unheard voices of the American Tapestry. Recent: Ain't Too Proud, Thoughts of a Colored Man, For Colored Girls... revival. Previous Broadway projects include the 2012 Tony-winning Broadway production of The Gershwins' Porgy & Bess and the all-black Broadway production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Additionally, Ron produced the Tony Award winning BEST PLAY and BEST MUSICAL winners Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Jitney¬†revival and A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder. Off-Broadway: Turn Me Loose with Joe Morton, and Bedlam Theatre's Hamlet/St. Joan. His film credits include Night Catches Us which premiered as a Grand Jury Nominee at Sundance and won both the FIPRESCI Award for Best American Feature and the 2010 African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Picture.¬†Blue Caprice (Sundance premier) was sold to Sundance Selects/IFC,¬†nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Picture and nominated for the NAACP Image Awards' Outstanding Independent Motion Picture. Mother of George was a Grand Jury nominee in Sundance's U.S. Dramatic Competition earning Bradford Young an award for Best Cinematography. Mother of George¬†was given the Best World Cinema honor by the African American Film Critics Association. Gun Hill Road premiered at Sundance as a Grand Jury nominee and was the winner of the IMAGEN Award for Best Film. It was released theatrically in the U.S. and abroad.


    is a multi-disciplinary producer, artistic advisor, script developer and dramaturg of Caribbean heritage; her innate balance of creative spirit and business acumen is fortified with decades of knowledge in front of and behind the scenes of the entertainment industry, she is currently developing a wide array of event, film, television and theater projects around the world. Select productions include: executive producing the award winning film In Time which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by HBO Network; internationally producing and starring in the thought-provoking stage play Single Black Female; directing the anniversary celebration of the iconic hit television show CLUB MTV; receiving an AUDELCO Award nomination for performing in Love and Marriage and New York City directed by Woodie King Jr. During Broadway's recent reopening season, she invested in Thoughts of a Colored Man and contributed to capitalizing the Tony nominated revival of for colored girls... Janel serves on the board of directors of Theater Resources Unlimited and co-founded TRU Diversity.