Laura Matalon was the recent guest speaker that talked about publicity and marketing during Covid-19 to Southern Illinois University’s chapter of PRSSA. She is the Chief Marketing Officer for Hamilton the Musical (the hit show written by Lin-Manuel Miranda), and during the meeting she joked public relations wasn’t her first choice. She wanted to become an actress; she was even a Theater Engineer for Northwestern before she went into public relations. Matalon said it herself “I got into PR by accident.”
Matalon has worked for public relations for a long time. She worked for a public relations firm in Washington DC; Laura also worked for a public relations firm in Chicago. Both public relations jobs were corporate, but Laura left that job to pursue become a publicist for theater companies.
She traveled with a company selling tickets for Singing in the rain, and South Pacific for a Texas Theater company. That lead her to work for Hamilton and having her own Public Relations agency TMG (The Marketing Group) in Chicago from 1998-2008. Laura had her work cut out for her as a publicist.
Matalon, with her team, was making style guides to discuss all the aspects of the show. When talking about her responsibilities, she said that she must be creative with writing pitches and giving story ideas for press releases. Also, she must think about what the stories will be in the newspapers and play bills. Laura also has to market her product, and she is creating advertisements for releases and needs to post on social media. With her job she has to handle everything including crisis control. She had to deal with the Twitter war that happened when Mike Pence went to see Hamilton and actors brought politics into the show.
She still has to handle the stress of all the shows being shut down because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Hamilton is now on Disney Plus, and In the Heights which is still going to be in movie theaters and on HBO Max in 2021. Musicals are also changing, and people are coming together and creating musicals on social platforms like TikTok.
Matalon has also worked on other projects like fundraising for Joe Biden. She is still working on Hamilton and getting ready for all theaters to open back up. With that amount of work there are a lot of pressure and stressors. Laura, who works for a team in her own company, must model professional behaviors and teach her team how to de-stress.
Laura Matalon who is experienced in working with a lot of theaters and shows said that with being a publicist and working with public relations, there is a lot of work that comes out of it. Laura has to be creative, adaptable, and learn how to stay calm in a stressful situation, despite all the work she has to do it is rewarding.
“Even if you don’t start off in a job that you love, whatever job you get you don’t have to stick with this job your entire life”, said Laura Matalon while talking to PRSSA. She didn’t always have the job that she has now, but she encouraged students: “if you continue to climb up that ladder you could be successful too.”