Objective: Since 1991, the non-profit organization City Lights Youth Theatre, Inc., has empowered thousands of New York City youth, ages 3-19, through in-school residencies; after-school workshops in acting, musical theatre, and playwriting; and an annual season of productions in Off-Off Broadway theatres. Mouth Public Relations’ objective was to book the organization’s first national and local TV and radio interviews, print features, and reviews, as well as gain awareness for the organization’s annual fundraising event held at Tavern on the Green in New York City. Mouth Public Relations was also in charge of producing goodie bags for the 300+ guests who attended the NYC fundraiser.
Strategy and Tactics: The organization’s first production of 2007 was The Laramie Project, the story of the lynching of gay student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming—which coincidentally premiered as the story of Grey’s Anatomy star Isaiah Washington’s harassment of a gay member of his cast grabbed headlines. Mouth Public Relations tied the City Lights’ production with the news about Washington, making the case that even though hate and bigotry are still prevalent in this country, a youth theatre can make a positive impact by teaching tolerance through performance.
Results: Mouth Public Relations was successful in booking the theatre’s first national television interview on LOGO cable network; a radio interview with 1010 WINS “Alice Stockton Rossini;” feature stories in Playbill.com; Backstage; Big Apple Parent; show listings in the New York Times; and its first review as seen in Connecticut Post. At the organization’s fundraiser, Mouth Public Relations was successful in securing New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham to cover the event in his “After Hours” column in the Sunday NYT. Mouth Public Relations also pitched and secured donated merchandise for goodie bags from BMW, American Eagle Outfitters, Lancôme USA, Target, and the Broadway Cast of A Chorus Line.