A LIFE IN THE THEATRE: Chris Boneau, Press Agent of Jersey Boys, Motown, Pippin, Bullets Over Broadway and Betrayal
02 Sep 2013
Meet veteran press agent Chris Boneau, whose roster of Broadway projects include Angels in America, Lucky Guy, Jersey Boys, Motown, Pippin and Mamma Mia!, as well as the upcoming productions of Bullets Over Broadway, A Raisin in the Sun and Betrayal.
From the age of ten Chris Boneau wanted to be an actor. Then, while performing at Louisiana State University, he started working on press relations for its theatre productions. "And one day in graduate school a professor pulled me aside and said, 'You're a good actor, but you're a better press representative.'"
Boneau, 55, is celebrating his 25th anniversary on Broadway as one of New York's busiest and best theatrical press agents. He is co-founder of Boneau/Bryan-Brown, which since 1991 has worked on more than 200 plays and musicals, collecting 189 Tony Awards and seven Pulitzer Prizes.
The firm's Pulitzer winners include Angels in America, Doubt, Proof, Rabbit Hole, Topdog/Underdog, Wit and Ruined. Among its current roster of hits are The Book of Mormon, Matilda The Musical, Jersey Boys, Motown, Pippin and Once.
Boneau's career began in his hometown of Port Arthur, TX, when he was cast at age ten in a tiny role in a small theatre production of Three Men on a Horse. "On pure spunk I went in and auditioned. One night I was told by the director that the lead actor had gone up on his lines and was taking us from the first act to the third. She said I had to save the day. She pushed me onstage and I barked out the line that got him back to the first act. At the end of the play the cast was cheering for me. I was hooked."
In 1982, the L.S.U. professor who advised him suggested he visit Actors Theatre of Louisville, where Boneau accepted an internship in the public relations and marketing department. This led to a staff position, which kept Boneau at Actors Theatre of Louisville for the next few years, until New York beckoned. "I worked for a guy who ran a record company out of a lumberyard and a woman who was a professional singing birthday clown."
Holed up in a seedy motel on the edge of the Mojave Desert, two former lovers unpack the deep secrets and dark desires of their tangled relationship, passionately tearing each other apart. Led by director Daniel Aukin (Back Back Back at MTC, 4,000 Miles), Tony winner Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur at MTC, Born Yesterday) and Sam Rockwell (A Behanding in Spokane, The Way Way Back) bring an explosive intensity to Sam Shepard’s (Buried Child, True West) landmark myth of the new Wild West.