'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Cast Opens Interactive Exhibit in New York

Making Maisel Marvelous EVENT - Publicity - H 2019
Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub, Marin Hinkle and Amy Sherman-Palladino were among the cast and crew to check out the "immersive experience," which includes sets, props and costumes.

It’s only fitting that an interactive exhibit for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been set up at New York’s Paley Center for Media in Midtown Manhattan — CBS founder William S. Paley loomed large at his network during the late-1950s time period in which the Amazon series is set. And next door to the Paley Center is the iconic 21 Club, where it’s easy to envision the characters of the Emmy-winning comedy treating themselves on a special evening.

On Saturday night, the cast, crew and Amazon execs gathered at the Paley Center for a cocktail party to celebrate the debut of “Making Maisel Marvelous,” the exhibit that is open to the public through Sept. 6. Previously part of Amazon’s “Prime Experience FYC” at the Hollywood Athletic Club earlier this year, the exhibit has been expanded for the New York outpost. “You see a lot of the same elements, but we brought more stuff along for this event,” said Neil Prince, supervising art director for Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. “It’s a chance to showcase all the wonderful work and craft that go into the show.”

The two-level experience features a variety of sets from season two — from the B. Altman and Company beauty counter and switchboard where Rachel Brosnahan’s titular Midge Maisel works to the beauty salon at the Steiner Mountain Resort where Midge and her family spend their summers. A variety of looks by costume designer Donna Zakowska are also displayed on both levels. “To be able to look at and experience the level of detail and craftsmanship that go into the costumes or set design, I think that’s really special,” Brosnahan, in crimson Oscar de la Renta, told The Hollywood Reporter. “As a fan of the show that I’m on, I am always happy to step inside that world, and this immersive experience gives everyone an opportunity to do that.” 

Earlier in the day, a line of visitors stretched down the sidewalk between Fifth and Sixth Avenues on West 52nd Street. Did creator and executive producer Amy Sherman-Palladino ever imagine that the show she conceptualized could become a popular museum-level experience? “Are you kidding? You just hope that you still have a parking space in the morning,” she joked to THR. “You go into things and you love them, but you never know if anybody else is going to love them. It’s great that people have responded to this show in a really delightful manner.” 

Guests at Saturday’s party quickly found their favorites among the various set pieces, taking selfies with the costumes or putting on switchboard headphones (playing clips from season two conversations). In a theater adjacent to the lower-level displays, visitors also can watch season two episodes. On the upper level, the set for the arthritis telethon that figures prominently in episode nine of season two is also included and visitors can see how they look on a vintage RCA color-television camera. “The set where we filmed that episode was much larger, but we managed to create the feel of it in this space,” said Bill Groom, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s production designer. “We wanted to give everyone a sense of the physicality of the show, while also capturing the period and the characters, and establishing the same level of detail that goes into what we do.” 

Marin Hinkle, who plays Midge’s mother, Rose, believes visitors will discover elements that will resonate beyond their love of the show. “When my mom was in high school in the late '50s, I’m not sure she was attuned to the luxurious idea of accessorizing with beautiful colors, but now she appreciates it in a different way,” Hinkle, in a floral dress by Erdem, said on the red carpet. “So something like this gives people an opportunity to rediscover something, and for younger people, it lets them be exposed to it.” 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel earned 20 nominations for the 2019 Emmy Awards and has the potential to repeat its 2018 win for best comedy series. For Sherman-Palladino, “Making Maisel Marvelous” is an opportunity to thank fans for embracing the show and contributing to its success; "It’s not sepia-toned or your grandmother’s ‘Well, in my day’ world – it’s colorful and it’s got scope and energy, and all of that combined really lends itself to being turned into a little bit of madness in the middle of Manhattan."

“Making Maisel Marvelous,” through Sept. 6 at the Paley Center for Media, 25 W. 25th Street, New York; free and open to the public; paleycenter.org.