Monday, August 10, 2009

30 Rock, Barney Greengrass and Me

Back in January of 2009, on a freezing cold day in NYC, I did background work on 30 ROCK, episode 315. I wore lots of green and looked unusually frumpy. It was a restaurant scene at Barney Greengrass. I played an Upper West Side Jewish woman (why'd they cast ME in that role?) who sat in the restaurant and drank black cherry soda. Also, I was pushing my way around at the counter. THAT was a stretch, because I was actually repulsed by the fish heads staring at me through the glass. Good thing I'm such a fine actress. Tina Fey was in the scene with JON HAMM!!!!! (of MAD MEN) - I didn't know which one to be more excited about until I saw Jon light up a cigarette while on a break, so he's off my list. (For those who don't know, at the time, he was the longtime partner of writer-actress Jennifer Westfeldt -- Rabbi Marshall Meyer's great - or is it grand? - niece.) While we were there, the cast & crew learned that the show was picked up for a 4th Season. Everybody cheered and then we went back to the kippers and sturgeon. Except for me, because I'm a vegetarian. SPOILER ALERT: The scenes were pretty funny, since the character that Hamm played got so many breaks just for being handsome. NAME-DROPPING ALERT: It was reunion time on set -- many of our actor friends - Peter Samuel, Rich Rothbell, Doug Shapiro - and NEW actor friends - Ashley Brooke Adelman and Leonid Citer. Turns out, Leonard worked for Olympia Dukakis & Louis Zorich in in the house where my sisters and I used to babysit for their kids. Just another small "Born in Defiance" world. Apparently Citer is Russian, but I don't believe it because when I sang him that old Russian folksong, Achi Vo Pachi Mu Eeniznayu sam, he didn't recognize it. Maybe it was my accent.

A few weeks ago, a friend called and said that she was walking by Barney Greengrass and in the window there were photos of Tina Fey and others from the day they shot 30 ROCK there. I ran over and sure enough, my little head is in the window of Barney Greengrass, in profile, facing the deli counter. So, I'm kinda famous at Barney Greengrass, the STURGEON KING. It's a start.

Note: In the accompanying photo (30 Rock - THE BUBBLE episode) I'm all the way to the left, in the green sweater, w/ a black cherry soda. I'm in other scenes in a green coat at the deli counter, but mostly you just see the back of my head.

Addendum: While in the deli, I was hoping I could sneak in a line and get upgraded to Principal on the show. The first line that got me into the actors union in the first place was on a soap opera. The scene was a coffee shop. I had to say to the character played by Darnell Williams, "Can I get a warm up over here please?" This began my life as a bad actor because when the Production Assistant gave me the cue to say my line, I thought he was giving me the cue to get up and walk somewhere so there I was, walking across the set, with just dead air, costing the network how many hundreds of dollars in wasted tape? By the way, I had to wear upscale clothes but nothing I had in my closet seemed right so Julie Flanders, of October Project, loaned me a purple jacket. This was also the beginning of my name-dropping ways.

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