NEW YORK CITY: Did They Like It?, formerly known as Did He Like It?, a review aggregator of live theatre coverage on Broadway and Off-Broadway, launched today, with the aim of making theatre reviews “more accessible, digestible, and fun.” The site also announced a diverse five-member critic cohort, who will write original reviews alongside the aggregated reviews of New York City theatre critics.
Led by Jose Solís, the five critics are Bedatri D. Choudhury, Christian Lewis, Juan Michael Porter II, Ran Xia, and Ana Zambrana. While current productions are already aggregated on the site, the first production to receive a review from within this new cohort will be Bedatri D. Choudhury’s review of the Broadway musical Six, which opens Oct. 3. Solís also plans to publish critical dialogues among himself and the five new critics about various shows.
For its aggregated reviews, Did They Like It? uses a “signature visual rubric”—a thumbs-up image for a rave, an open palm for a middling review, a thumbs-down for a pan—adjudicated by “an unbiased and unaffiliated DTLI editorial team, a.k.a. the Thumb Squad,” according to a release.
Jose Solís (he/him) began his career as a critic at age 16 when he launched a film review website while living in Honduras, where he was born, and upon moving to NYC in 2012 focused entirely on writing about the stage. His work appears in The New York Times, American Theatre, TDF Stages, Backstage, 3 Views, and America magazine.
Bedatri D. Choudhury wanted to be a dancer growing up but ended up writing her first “culture criticism” at age 6 (on The Jetsons) and fell in love with the sweet feeling of seeing her name in print. Whatever it is she writes on, she writes from the intersections of post-colonialism, race, and gender. She has managed documentary projects at Doc Society, Working Films, The Gotham Film & Media Institute, Rada Studio, and CAAM, among others.
Christian Lewis (they/them) is a queer nonbinary freelance theatre critic with published pieces in American Theatre and BroadwayWorld, among others. Christian is also a member of the Outer Critics Circle. They have been featured on various panels (the Brain Lab and RE: THEATRE) and podcasts (the Fabulous Invalid and Stage Left). Christian is a co-host of What’s Up Broadway on the Broadway Podcast Network.
Juan Michael Porter II is a Black queer man living with HIV who started dancing after realizing it was the closest he’d ever get to being an actual superhero and spent his performance career “tricking people all over the world into paying him to work with them,” and says he “to steal jobs from writers who think that reviewing means telling readers how they “should” think. Porter is a National Critics Institute fellow and is the staff writer of TheBody.com.
Ran Xia is a Shanghai-born, Brooklyn-based playwright, director, and audio designer. Resident director at the Tank, Beatrice Terry Resident 2021-2022 at the Drama League, she will be directing Orlando by Sarah Ruhl at Barnard and is a commissioned playwright at Vanderbilt University this fall.
Ana Luz Zambrana (she/her) is a Latinx actor, director, and critic. She received her BFA in acting from the University of Central Florida, training as well at the Atlantic Acting School and BADA. She is a recipient of the KCACTF SDC directing fellowship and was recently apart of the Kennedy Center’s BIPOC Critic Lab lead by Jose Solís.
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