FIRST LOOK: Glee's Biggest, Craziest, Most Expensive Show Ever

 Joe Pugliese


The forecast calls for hot and sunny, the kind of early-spring day that always beckons New Yorkers -- not to mention the city's usual crush of tourists -- to Central Park. But on this particular morning, the Glee shoot is attracting an overflow crowd to the park's Poet's Walk. Fans line the grass on either side of the concrete promenade, and 10 teenage girls wait outside Monteith's trailer. PAs attempt to shoo them away, but they seem to have their hands full keeping the paparazzi from breaching the dolly tracks.

The scene is another segment of the "New York, New York"/"I Love New York" mashup, with the cast running toward the camera lip-syncing while two horse trainers dressed as mounted police officers gallop behind them in a nod to the famous "Age of Aquarius" scene from Hair. This time, several castmembers are holding bouquets of flowers, impromptu props purchased from a park vendor, and Morris clutches a bunch of balloons that, per Murphy, "will pop against the blue of the sky." Murphy wants to let the balloons go on the final take but is warned he could incur a stiff littering fine.

The second leg of today's shoot is at Lincoln Center Plaza. Unlike Central Park, the music hall complex is a privately owned property (operated by Lincoln Center Inc.). But while two of the three theaters that face the plaza -- Avery Fisher Hall and the David H. Koch Theater -- can be filmed without incurring a license fee, the stately Metropolitan Opera House, with its Chagall murals, charges a hefty $100,000 to show its full visage. They opt against it. "It's very restrictive," Murphy says. The fountain, which features choreographed water rising to multiple levels, is switched off. Murphy and Falchuk survey the water ringing the fountain's delicate black-granite rim, where the cast will be skipping and running (McHale, in his wheelchair, will be rolling). "It's very much like a music video," says Monteith, who's schvitzing in a puffy vest and flannel shirt and pondering taking a dive. Murphy frowns, "Who'll clean up all of this water?" Within minutes, two PAs are wiping down the rim with towels. The plaza is completely sealed off from the public and paparazzi via metal barriers, but a crowd of 100 mostly teenage girls is pressed against the barriers along Broadway. Referring to the chaotic shoot earlier that day in Central Park, Sergeant Schneider of the NYPD's film/TV unit says to all within earshot: "See the difference between public property and private property? [Di Loreto] wanted me to close the park. I told him I couldn't close the park. It's the people's park."


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