UPDATE 9:54 P.M.: Miramontez responds, and Weinstein responds, too, below.
Thank you so much for the beautiful flowers. I totally understand, there is a lot of pressure out there. You are a terrific guy, but the world of Broadway is tough. I personally will miss you — you are courageous and smart and definitely impressed me.
All my best,
With that e-mail, Harvey Weinstein and Finding Neverland executive producer Victoria Parker ended their relationship with veteran Broadway press agent Rick Miramontez. Until Tuesday, Miramontez and Weinstein were joined at the hip in navigating the new musical through more than two years of heavy rewrites, two tryouts, cast changes and a run-up to the show’s March 15 first preview at the Nederlander-owned Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. The show, based on Miramax’s 2004 Johnny Depp-Kate Winslet film about the Peter Pan creator, stars Matthew Morrison, Kelsey Grammer and Laura Michelle Kennedy and is directed by Diane Paulus (Pippin), with a score by Brit rocker Gary Barlow and Eliot Kennedy.
“It’s about creating heat,” Parker said in an interview with Deadline. “I know the kind of publicity campaign that Harvey expects.”
Finding Neverland, aimed at family audiences, represents Weinstein’s first foray on Broadway as lead producer. His model in terms of marketing seemed to be rival producer Scott Rudin, who is unsurpassed in both attracting serious coverage of his shows and in promoting them through a wide range of media. None of that has been happening for Finding Neverland as the first preview approached in a crowded and highly competitive spring Broadway season. Weinstein, who has so far risen above tough reviews of the show’s tryouts and plenty of gossip about changes of creative staff and the acting company, is determined to see his show get a shot at the family audience he believes will support the show whatever the criticas have to say when it opens on April 15. He also praised Miramontez for the work he’d done on the show.
“Rick’s a great guy, and I love them,” he said, referring to Miramontz’s successful firm, O&M Company P.R. He’s known and admired for creative publicity in the service of such current shows as Kinky Boots, A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder and the hit revival of It’s Only A Play.
“We felt the campaign wasn’t where we wanted it to be,” Parker told Deadline. “And we had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment on Tuesday. We decided then to part ways.”
For his part, Miramontez had somewhat stronger words on the break-up: “Broadway to Harvey Weinstein: Drop dead!” he emailed Deadline.
But on consideration late Thursday night, Weinstein insisted that he did not want the split to reflect harshly on Miramontez, who in fact is handling the campaign for the film of The Last Five Years, which The Weinstein Company is co-distributing. He may even change his mind — it’s been known to happen — on Finding Neverland. “He’s done phenomenal work on The Last Five Years,” Weinstein said. “I’ll probably be begging Rick to come back tomorrow morning — and thanking him at the Tonys.”