A Writer’s Love Letter to Chicago Performing Arts PR Folks
Photo Credit: Andrea Klohn
David Rosenberg, Cathy Taylor and her team, Shout, Margie Korshak and her team, Heron Agency, Jay Kelly, John Olson and Melisa Tropp.
These are some of the hardest working people I know and, like many arts folks I know, they don’t get enough credit for all they do. Whether it’s sending out breaking news, casting lists, premiere invites or hosting media people at opening nights, public relations folks for Chicago theaters don’t seem to rest.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve rearranged something with someone because of my hectic schedule and how accommodating they always are. They are some of the kindest and brilliant people I’ve met in my time in Chicago. They could certainly rival theater critics in theater knowledge. (That would be a really fun trivia night.)
Our outstanding PR folks could make so much more money in another market or industry, but choose to work in the arts because it’s where their hearts are—and you know that from the get go.
When it comes to getting a story situated, for a journalist in the arts, PR folks are your best allies. They’ll help you coordinate interviews, get you in the room or help you come up with story topics. Especially when you’re a freelancer like me those are the kinds of things that can complicate your daily routine. Also, there are only so many story ideas one can come up with if a show is of a certain age. We need those insiders to give us some scope of the unique.
There really aren’t enough ways I could possibly thank the public relations firms in this industry for everything they do for the theater community. They increase a theater’s visibility, ensure the shows get the word out and help give an inside look into a production before it opens. For someone who isn’t in on the creative process, the PR team can let journalists in on secrets that elevate a show from the 100th production of Million Dollar Quartet into something entirely new.
Having dabbled in PR work I can attest that crafting a press release is an art in itself. I can’t imagine turning over as many releases as these folks do on a weekly or even daily basis. (Looking at you David Rosenberg, how do you do that?!)
In a city like Chicago, where theater is as ingrained as deep dish pizza, it only makes sense that we have the best PR folks to match. We’re lucky to have teams all over the city and the suburbs that live and breathe this artform to make it their mission to promote them far and wide.
At the end of a show there aren’t bows for the folks waiting in the lobby to answer any questions the media or special guests have. Knowing first hand how particular members of the press can be I can’t begin to thank any of our PR colleagues enough. But know that you are so, so appreciated for all that you do.
Thank you for loving theater. Thank you for doing the work that you do to help it thrive. Thank you for always answering your phone or email lickety split. Thank you for often being the first familiar, always friendly face at opening nights when I’m by myself.
And thank you for saving my sanity on more than one occasion.