Penn State Alumni Spearhead Hype For Broadway’s ‘Hamilton’
You could create the best Broadway show of all-time, but without a killer PR team and a little hype, how would anyone know? That’s where Penn State alumni Mike Karns and Sam Rudy come in. The two spearhead social media and publicity efforts for “Hamilton,” Broadway’s hip-hop musical currently up for 16 Tony Awards including Best New Musical, a category it’s largely expected to win.
Karns, social media manager for the show, runs its lively Twitter and Facebook pages along with its fitting YouTube channel. This job involves quite a few fine lines. “My work is a balancing act of trying to bring these fans along for the ride while not appearing to be bragging about these amazing things that are happening for the show,” he told Penn State.
Two years after graduating Penn State in 2011 with a degree in stage management, Karns founded Marathon Live Entertainment. The unique producing and social media company utilizes live entertainment to promote engagement and awareness of a client’s particular brand. It seems to be working pretty well – the musical’s two-year-old Twitter account has 240 thousand followers.
Karns is also co-producing and handling the social media of “The Great Comet” (opening on Broadway in the Fall) and manages Tony Award nominee “DISASTER!”‘s social media. As president of Penn State’s School of Theatre Alumni Group, Karns told Penn State he hopes to give back to the institution responsible for much of his success. “Now I’m working to connect our students as they enter the real world with allies and friends from the Penn State community to help them.”
Rudy, a 1976 graduate with a degree in English, is Hamilton’s publicist. He founded Sam Rudy Media Relations, and though his company has worked with a long list of shows like Avenue Q, he cites Hamilton as a “singular experience” in his multi-decade Broadway Career.
Through it all, Rudy hasn’t forgotten his Centre County roots and the Penn State education that propelled him. “I am very Penn State proud and acknowledge that the terrific education I got there—not to mention my first exposure to theater as a member of Penn State Thespians—and the lifelong connections I made in college have informed my life and career beyond measure,” he told Penn State.