Rifts and Roses Follow Press Agent's Abrupt Exit from Broadway's Finding Neverland

News   Rifts and Roses Follow Press Agent's Abrupt Exit from Broadway's Finding Neverland
 
High tensions at a recent marketing strategy meeting for the upcoming Broadway musical Finding Neverland resulted in the swift departure of one of Broadway's most influential press agents from the Harvey Weinstein-produced show.

Rick Miramontez
Rick Miramontez Photo by Monica Simoes

The New York Times reported that Academy Award-winning producer Weinstein, who has carefully redeveloped Finding Neverland for Broadway over the past couple years, was concerned that press agent Rick Miramontez and his team at the Broadway PR firm O&M Co. had not done enough work to secure national press for the musical.

The Times stated that Weinstein was angling for prominent placement for Finding Neverland, including cover stories in GQ, Vanity Fair and New York Magazine, a feat rarely achieved for Broadway musicals, especially those without a blockbuster Hollywood star.

Finding Neverland's leads include Tony Award nominee and "Glee" star Matthew Morrison, Olivier Award-winning actress Laura Michelle Kelly and Emmy Award winner Kelsey Grammer.

Weinstein remarked to the Times that the only long lead feature on Finding Neverland he felt was significant was a story in Vogue, which he had arranged himself.

It was also reported that Weinstein then drilled the O&M team as to whom was on the editorial staff of the various publications he mentioned. Both parties differ on the team's ability to provide Weinstein with satisfactory answers. Miramontez told the Times that his team passed the "bizarre pop quiz" with flying colors, while Weinstein indicated that no answers were provided. Miramontez stated that he took issue not with the quizzing of his staff, but with what he considered to be unrealistic expectations from Weinstein – mainly securing cover stories on Finding Neverland in prominent national magazines. O&M's digital, print and marketing strategies were also taken into question, sources told the Times.

Weinstein told the Times that he had been tough on Miramontez and his team, indicating that they would be fired if an acceptable strategy was not in place for Finding Neverland.

In an email to Playbill.com, Miramontez was clear that O&M Co. made the decision to part ways with Weinstein on Finding Neverland and that he and his team had not been fired.

Miramontez also shared with Playbill.com his letter of resignation to Weinstein, which was delivered Jan. 21, accompanied by two-dozen roses.

It reads:

Dear Harvey,

Thank you so much for the opportunity to rep Finding Neverland, but following yesterday's meeting I have decided to resign the account. Life, as they say, is simply too short.

I wish you nothing but the best with your Broadway debut.

Respectfully,
Rick Miramontez

Weinstein later emailed the Times, reflecting that he had been "hovering over Finding Neverland too much" and that O&M had been doing a "bang-up job" on the Weinstein Co. release of the film musical "The Last Five Years."

"There are no hard feelings on either side of the recent theatrics, and we all move forward with one mutual desire – for Finding Neverland to open on Broadway triumphantly. In the interim, we'll continue to work together on 'The Last Five Years' and other projects," Miramontez and Weinstein said in a joint statement exclusively released to Playbill.com.

Weinstein, who said that his company will likely handle press for Finding Neverland in-house, joked with the Times that he expected quips at his own expense from Miramontez, adding that if he had known that parting ways with a press agent would generate this kind of interest from the press, he would consider hiring a press agent one day and firing them the next for the sake of publicity. Weinstein also indicated that there was the possibility his company would seek the help of O&M come Tony Awards season.

Miramontez did not respond to questions as to whether or not he would consider taking on Finding Neverland and its producer this spring.

Miramontez' O&M Co. is also representing the Broadway arrival of three other Broadway musicals this spring: the award-winning Fun Home, also a 2014 contender for the Pulitzer Prize; as well as the Chita Rivera vehicle The Visit, featuring a score by Kander and Ebb; and the new musical comedy It Shoulda Been You.

Finding Neverland begins Broadway previews March 15 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre.

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