Wall Street Journal columnist barred by Broadway press agent

Wall Street Journal columnist 'will never be invited to another show by my office,' says Broadway press agent

A cultural columnist at the Wall Street Journal has been disinvited to shows by a top Broadway press agent in response to a column she wrote in which she confessed to leaving a number of shows early.

Rick Miramontez, whose O&M Co. represents such high-profile Broadway productions as "A Gentleman's Guide to Murder" and the upcoming "Finding Neverland," recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal taking issue with the Dec. 1 column by Joanne Kaufman.

In the column, titled "Confessions of a Broadway Bolter," Kaufman confesses to leaving early from shows to which she has received free press tickets. Among the Broadway shows to get the short shrift from her are Sting's "The Last Ship," Donald Margulies' "The Country House" and the revival of "It's Only a Play."

"I'm privileged and I know it. Because of my profession, I get a pair of free tickets to many entertainments," Kaufman wrote in the column.

She added that she is befuddled by those who "feel they need to stay until the end of a show they abhor in the name of getting their money's worth."

O&M said on its website that Miramontez submitted a letter to the Wall Street Journal but the newspaper rejected it. The PR firm subsequently posted the letter in its entirety on its website.

In the letter, Miramontez criticized Kaufman for what he views as "sheer laziness" and wrote that "let me be the first of what I hope will be many press agents to unburden Joltin' Joanne from her hardship.  She will never be invited to another show by my office."

He added that Kaufman is welcome to arrange tickets for shows, "but she had better have a credit card handy."

Cultural journalists often receive free press tickets from publicists to events that they intend to cover or review in some way. The practice is common on Broadway, where productions jostle for media attention and ticket sales.

O&M said that the face value that any given production gives away to the media during designated press performances around the time of its opening is close to $200,000.

When asked if he would consider re-inviting Kaufman if she promised to stay for the whole show, Miramontez replied via email: "Well,  I never say never, but we'd definitely require some kind of collateral, or a credit card number."

Kaufman did not immediately responded to requests for further comment.

Twitter: @DavidNgLAT

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