“Rick Miramontez is the strongest and best press rep in the Broadway community. He’s a venerated and valued colleague of the highest level of players working on the street. Because two spoiled children decide to start an agency representing clients paying them $1,000 a month, and name their business after their wine consumption, and another spoiled child takes a desk at a WeWork because he doesn’t want to have to work in an office or be in any way responsible to anybody for any actual work product, is meaningless to Rick and to his clients. The guy is an institution. He’s a one-off. None of these other people are principals. Rick is the only principal in that shop and that’s why the clients revere him. He’s got more showmanship in his left pinky than the three of them combined. I mean, come on.”
Asked to comment on the comment, Miramontez was unavailable, attending client Bruce Springsteen’s first preview tonight.
EARLIER: Three top lieutenants from DKC/O&M, the powerful Broadway PR firm founded by industry veteran Rick Miramontez, have jumped ship to start their own shops. That’s par for the course among public relations offices, but coming at the start of a very busy theater season, the timing of the departures by creative director Andy Snyder, VP Molly Barnett and her partner in her new venture, Chelsea Nachman – all senior in the firm – was odd, to say the least. Even Miramontez, who merged his independent O&M Company with powerhouse DKC two years ago, seemed a bit whiplashed.
“This place is a pressure cooker!” Miramontez told Deadline. “There were times even I’ve considered walking away, but at the end of the day I think I’d miss me too much.”
Barnett and Nachman announced today the launch of grapevine public relations, a full-service boutique firm specializing in theatrical talent representation (translation: not, for the most part, shows). Barnett has been with Miramontez for nearly the full decade since he moved his offices from Los Angeles to Times Square. Nachman has been with the company for seven years.
“We’re excited to take our years of experience working with some of the best Broadway shows to focus more on the best Broadway talent,” Barnett told Deadline. “There are so many incredibly talented artists working in New York City, and we’re eager to work even more closely with actors, writers and directors and beyond.”
Miramontez said he supports the move, adding, “I know that grapevine will be a huge success.”
Grapevine has a strong portfolio out of the starting gate, including Tony Award winners Jessie Mueller, Billy Porter, Jeanine Tesori and Blair Brown, as well as theatrical publicity for Tony-winning composers Cyndi Lauper, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, along with songwriters Kait Kerrigan & Brian Lowdermilk, and more. The two execs say they’ll continue to work with Miramontez and DKC/O&M on Dear Evan Hansen, last season’s Best Musical Tony Award winner.
“We’ll do mostly individual talent,” Barnett said. “We may consult on the occasional show, so it won’t be exclusively individual talent.”
The grapevine announcement comes hard on the heels of Snyder’s reveal last month that he was leaving DKC/O&M to start Thinkwell NYC, an independent agency for hire specializing in the publicity, marketing and advertising copy, content and other written materials for agencies, firms and individual businesses. Within the theatrical PR space, Snyder said, Thinkwell NYC will work in an exclusive partnership with DKC/O&M, “generating a broad array of written materials for Miramontez and his clients.”
Said Miramontez: “Andy is one the industry’s best wordsmiths and creative strategists. I am excited to continue our close professional association in this new capacity.”
Snyder clocked 14 years as a New York-based entertainment publicist, with a concentration on Broadway. At DKC/O&M, he helped create p.r. strategy for Hello, Dolly!; A Doll’s House, Part 2; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, among many others. He also served as longtime press representative for the American Theatre Wing, Jujamcyn Theaters and personal clients.
Miramontez told Deadline he’ll be announcing new members of his firm, and new exec titles, shortly.