NEW YORK–I’m in Manhattan this week to interview the cast of Mozart in the Jungle, a new drama coming later this month to Amazon Prime and early in the New Year in Canada to shomi. It’s kinda Fame meets Girls meets Smash, starring a mix of veterans such as Malcolm McDowall and Bernadette Peters as well as younger actors such as Saffron Burrows and Gael Garcia Bernal.
Little known fact: James Woods was going to play the part of the retiring New York Philharmonic conductor but, well, everyone knows wood is a poor conductor. That’s not true at all, that’s a joke.
I have managed to squeeze a little sight seeing into this trip. Did the Double Bill scene Tuesday night with Bill Carter. After close to 26 years at the New York Times, Bill is taking a pretty generous buyout. He asked a neighbour/doctor if he thought there was any reason not to take the offer and the neighbour basically said, “head injury.” Carter, whose last day at the Times is the 19th, has a new book deal (another late night tome). Is he open to keep typing about television for somebody else? That would be yes.
Bill tipped me off about the new marquee at Rockefeller Plaza on Avenue of the Americas saluting The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. Installed just last week, it’s done in the same classic art deco style as the other “NBC Studios” marquees at 30 Rock. Here’s Carter’s report on that.
I walked through 30 Rock and checked out the 82-foot tall Norway spruce out by the skating rink. The lights go on Wednesday night with the ceremony telecast on NBC beginning at 8 p.m.
My hotel is on W 44th St. and pretty much opposite the fabled Algonquin. I walked into the lobby and checked out the many Hirschfeld caricatures of the Algonquin Round Table elite. The place was like Facebook for wits in the ’20s thanks to ever present playwrights and pundits such as George S. Kaufmann, Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woolcott. Breakfast is very expensive, however, so I snuck a few photographs and beat it next door to the Red Flame (try the ham omelette).