the occasional thoughts of a theater fan
It's "Smash" night tonight (NBC, 9:00pm EST) and on my last visit to NYC, there was more "Smash" filming adventure for me! On Feb 15 '13, the show was filming at The Longacre Theatre on W48th St in the afternoon, and that evening at The Lyceum. I was able to get some photos and watch Anjelica Huston, Christian Borle, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Megan Hilty and Leslie Odom Jr. do their "Smash" thing!
The scene being filmed was the arrival at a performance of a fictional show, "Gathering Storm," by Tom (Christian Borle) and Eileen (Anjelica Huston). They are joined by Daphne Rubin-Vega, reportedly playing a Broadway publicist (Rubin-Vega was the original "Mimi" when the musical "Rent" opened on Broadway in 1996).
I was able to get a close up photo of one of the faux Playbills, and peeked inside at the "filler pages," which ironically were taken in part from an actual production from some years back starring Will Chase (the actor who played Julia's paramour and "Joe DiMaggio" in "Bombshell" last season).
Anjelica was the first in front of the entrance, met by Christian and they exchanged greetings, to be joined shortly by Daphne. The three chatted briefly and then entered the lobby together. There was a large crowd of extras playing the theatre-goers, some holding Playbills, who filed into the lobby before, during and after the principals "met up" in front.
I was not quite as fortunate with photo quality at The Lyceum Theatre that evening while the show was filming a "Bombshell" scene; the equipment and extras were inconveniently placed (and the crew dogged in their pursuit of keeping us at a distance) this time :). But it was fun to catch glimpses of Megan Hilty (Ivy) and Leslie Odom Jr. (Sam) exit the stage door to greet "fans" waiting for Ivy after a performance of "Bombshell."
Blurry, but the only photo of any quality I was able to get of Leslie Odom Jr. He walked right by me shortly afterwards, and we exchanged "hi"s, but it was too chaotic for me to take a close up :). Nice guy!
In honor of the Season 2 premiere of "Smash," tomorrow night, I offer this fun, behind-the-scenes gift that fate gave me a couple of weeks ago!
So I was sick. Something sinus-y, but not contagious. Just bad enough that I was miserable, but not bad enough to cancel my theatre weekend, and forfeit the tickets I'd already bought. My Muse hotel friends made sure my room was ready, made me tea and sent me popcorn. I holed up in the room until hunger for hot soup drove me out onto W46th St. to the Europa Cafe on the corner (great soups!). It's a good thing I was too broke for room service, because when I went out, I was greeted by a line of unmistakably filming-related trailers parked along 46th St. outside the hotel. I saw the "Universal" stamp on the side of the otherwise unmarked trailers and realized that there was a good possibility that one of my favorite television diversions (see previous blog post below), "Smash," was likely filming that evening. Sure enough, the last trailer in line had the photo to the left on its door! I struggled with my geeky angel sitting on my shoulder whispering "ask someone when/where they're filming!" but was saved from extreme geekiness when there was really no one around to ask anyway.
I got my soup, and returned to the hotel, extracting a promise from the front desk staff that they would call me immediately if they saw any evidence of filming going on. I sniffled and coughed and rested (feeling properly sorry for myself), until it was time for me to leave for "Golden Boy" at the Belasco Theatre on W44th St. As I was heading that way, I encountered an official-looking young woman near the trailers wearing a badge-thingy, and my geeky angel beat me into submission, and I asked her when/where filming might be happening. "Oh," she replied, "we're filming right now over on W45th St.!" Perfect! It was on my way to the show! But time was limited and in the most nonchalant manner I could muster, I calmly sauntered towards the next block, pulling my camera out as I broke into a walk-run.
Sure enough, there was the commotion in front of the Lyceum Theatre, standing in for the fictional "Lily Hayes Theatre," home for "Bombshell," the musical at the center of "Smash" (so far, anyway :)). I love watching filming of movies, television, etc., and got to do it a fair amount when I lived in Los Angeles; but it's been a bit of a dry spell in DC. So "Smash," or no, I was still excited to get to see a bit of the fun. They appeared to be filming an "opening night" for the show, with a crowd of extravagantly dressed extras milling about the front of the theatre. The scene being worked on had "Tom," (Christian Borle), tux-clad, being driven a few feet in a limo and stepping out amid a flash of cameras.
I was able to mingle with the extras for a few minutes and watch the limo moving up and back a few times, with Christian inside (the photo to the left shows a very serious Christian right before he glanced up and we exchanged smiles through the limo window :)).
Realizing that I was flirting with the disastrous possibility that I would miss the curtain of the show I was actually paying to attend, I took as many photos of the marquee and crowd as I could and then dashed to the Belasco just in time.
After my show let out, I walked back by the Lyceum on the way home, to see if anything was still going on. The crowd had dispersed but the lights were all still on and this time I was able to get close-ups of the front window cards with the fictional show information. What a treasure!! You can see that the detail in the props; the characters' names, etc. But my favorite part is the tape covering the star's name and then the director's name.
[WARNING~SLIGHTLY SPOILERY-SKIP TO FINAL PARAGRAPH IF YOU WISH]In one of the photos you can see an "Iv" peeking out at the beginning. Whether the tape was there to avoid spoilers, or whether the tape is a plot point (last minute substitution, for example), remains to be seen.
In the meantime, I had a wonderful respite from feeling lousy that made me completely confident I'd made the right decision in dragging myself to the city that was going to make me feel better no matter how sick I might be!!
Click the photo below to go to the NBC site for the show & watch the 2-hour season premiere tomorrow, Feb 5 '13, at 8pm EST.