Theater PR agency to shutter in June

Legit praisery Barlow Hartman will go dark in June, with partner John Barlow forming an entertainment consultancy group and fellow principal Michael Hartman opening a new PR company.

Hartman’s new shingle, The Hartman Group, will retain all of Barlow Hartman’s current clients — including “Billy Elliot,” “West Side Story” and “Wicked,” among others — as well as its staff of about ten.

Barlow said his new venture, still in the planning stages, will not be limited to legit, with consulting services offered for theatrical productions and for arts orgs beyond the stage.

The split, which both partners said is an amicable one, was brought about by Barlow’s desire to remain in theater but explore other angles of the industry in the rapidly changing legit and media landscapes.

“It was time for me to take a step back and look at the changes,” he said. “I want to do something else.”

Of the handful of Broadway PR agencies, 10-year-old Barlow Hartman is, with Boneau/Bryan-Brown, generally considered one of the big two. Over its 10-year existence, Barlow Hartman has repped Rialto productions including “The Producers,” “The Color Purple,” “700 Sundays,” “Gypsy” and “In the Heights.”

Of the current season’s Rialto offerings, Barlow Hartman tubthumps for “9 to 5,” “Next to Normal,” “Guys and Dolls” and “Rock of Ages,” along with “Billy” and “West Side.”

The Hartman Group will likely expand in the coming months. “I’ll be bringing on staff that can concentrate on new media,” Hartman said.

Barlow Hartman officially shuts down June 14 — one week after the 2009 Tonys, and exactly ten years after the company began business. The Hartman Group, in new offices on West 44th Street, opens June 15.

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