Press Agents

*Note: Please scroll to the bottom of this page for a list of experienced press agents.

About Press Agents

Press agents direct positive attention to your show, cast and creative staff via print, online and other media by devising, executing and managing a publicity plan that meets the needs, goals and potentials of the production while balancing the specific interests of individual reporters.  They accomplish this by (1) pitching unique and captivating stories that seize the reporter’s attention, (2) writing clear and compelling press releases that convey important news, (3) maintaining credible and lasting relationships with members of the press, (4) staying ahead of emerging trends in theater, journalism, marketing, technology and social networking and using those trends to their advantage, and (5) thinking outside the box to maximize a show’s potential to reach as wide and as diverse an audience as possible.  While each of these tasks is important, the fundamental role of a press agent is to influence public opinion and sell tickets.

In detail…

Though it’s impossible to detail each and every responsibility of a press agent (as it would be impossible to name everything a producer does, or a venue manager, or a director) there are some key tasks press agents are responsible for:

  1. Press agents come up with one-of-a-kind story ideas that will interest and engage reporters.  There are a lot of shows competing for very little publication space.  You have to stand out.
  2. Vital information, such as preview schedules and opening nights, cast changes and notifications of special events, are conveyed in persuasive and succinct press releases targeted to the right journalist.
  3. Reporters are burdened by a barrage of “news”.  One theater reporter recently claimed to receive 70 story pitches on a given day.  The press agent who has a cordial relationship with the media has a much better shot at getting her calls returned.
  4. Press agents are by nature information-hungry.  They’re conversant in not only theater but enough topics to comfortably pitch stories across a broad spectrum of ideas.  (A story about your show will sell more tickets if it’s placed in a section of the paper not associated with theater.)  They take advantage of new and emerging technology and they work closely with the marketing department to achieve similar goals.
  5. PR has to adapt to the specific needs of the show.  Press agents must be flexible team players.  They should be integrated into all areas of the production so they can capitalize on any opportunity for exposure.

There’s one other important thing press agents do, and that’s scheduling critics/arranging press seats.  We’re listing that last because it’s more of a science than an art.

Questions for a Press Agent

  1. What news angles specific to our show will captivate a reporter’s attention?
  2. Which writers will respond to those angles?
  3. What’s your relationship like with those writers?
  4. How can we capitalize on our show/its themes/its cast and creative staff?
  5. What are our major selling points?
  6. What potential negatives should we be ready to dispel?
  7. How can we get our show mentioned in areas of the newspaper not associated with theater?
  8. How can we harness the power of new and emerging technology to influence ticket buyers?
  9. How can (free) PR replace (paid) advertising while achieving the same (or better) results?
  10. How will you align your work with that of the marketing and advertising teams?

Here is a list of press agents with Off Broadway experience:

Boneau/Bryan-Brown
1501 Broadway
Suite 1314
New York, NY 10036
(212) 575-3030
www.bbbway.com

Daniel Demello *
www.facebook.com/dwdpr
www.twitter.com/dannydnyc

David Gersten & Associates *
214 West 50th Street
Suite 200
New York, NY 10019
(212) 575-0263
www.davidgersten.com

Karen Greco
PR for Smarties
www.prforsmarties.com

Kampfire PR
45 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012
(917) 562-5670
www.kampfirefilmspr.com

O&M Co.
261 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10016
(212) 695-7400
www.oandmco.com

Polk & Co.
1650 Broadway
Suite 602
New York, NY 10019
(917) 261-3988
www.polkandco.com

The Publicity Office
1650 Broadway
Suite 800
New York, NY 10019
(212) 315-2120
www.publicityoffice.com

Jim Randolph & Associates
1530 Broadway
New York, NY 10036
(212) 704-9894

Matt Ross Public Relations
(212) 756-1248
www.mattrosspr.com

Susan L. Schulman Publicity *
1745 Broadway
Suite 1756
New York, NY 10019
(212) 921-4344
www.schulmanpublicity.com

Keith Sherman & Associates
234 West 44th Street
Suite 1004
New York, NY 10036
(212) 764-7900
www.ksa-pr.com

 Jonathan Slaff & Associates
55 Perry Street #1M
New York, NY 10014
(212) 924-0496
www.jsnyc.com

Spin Cycle
www.spincyclenyc.com

Blake Zidell & Associates
321 Dean Street
Suite 5
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 643-9052
www.blakezidell.com

* indicates Off Broadway Alliance member