Theatrical press agent Emily Owens has been convincing critics and reporters to cover the flourishing downtown Manhattan theater scene since 2006. Among her clients are the buzzy Horse Trade, the Brick, and Flux Theatre Ensemble.
Is having a press agent important for shows?
For the smaller shows it’s very important. The little companies no one’s ever heard of, those are the ones it’s harder to get attention for. I send lots of emails trying to get [reviewers] to come to the show, sending out story ideas. A large part of why people hire me is my connections. If The New York Times is your goal, and I didn’t have a relationship with someone at the Times, then why would you hire me?
How do you come up with the story pitches?
I meet with the creative team early on. They want to make sure I’m making the pitches they want to be made. You want to make sure you’re all on the same page before you start talking to the media.
Before an interview, what advice do you give an actor?
Think out the bullet points of what you want to hit. Know the 10-minute elevator pitch for the show, and speak well about it. Make sure you have everything about the show correct. I had an actor do an email interview, and he spelled the name of the show incorrectly. You have to have all the facts correct!