By Terry Trucco
Why is Smash, the hit NBC series about the creation of a Broadway musical, our favorite television show this season? We can’t recall a TV show or movie with scenes shot at more New York City hotels.
Over the course of its short season, the actors were shown sipping drinks at the Bryant Park Hotel‘s Cellar Bar, clicking cocktails at the Royalton, downing drinks at W Times Square and ambling past the pink neon marquee of Times Square’s infamous Hotel Carter (you’ll notice they didn’t go inside that one).
But the bright shining moment for a New York hotel so far was the season’s penultimate episode, which aired last night. In it the cast road tests Bombshell, their Marilyn Monroe musical, in Boston. But the scenes of the nameless hotel where the cast congregates were filmed in the lobby and cabaret bar at the Carlton Hotel in New York, the stylish hotel on the corner of Madison Avenue and 29th Street.
The Carlton, which posed for its close-up in March, looks terrific albeit more
generic than in real life. Though audiences see its distinctive wrought iron stair rails, the
cameras sidestep the Edith Wharton-era photo mural behind the waterfall, a giveaway detail that places the hotel firmly in Yankee rather than Red Sox country.
The Carlton is the latest in a growing list of New York City hotels with recent star turns in television shows and movies. The Empire Hotel is a regular backdrop on Gossip Girl. Last year’s season finale of Glee unfolded at the Intercontinental New York Times Square, where the bar briefly added spiked Slurpies to the drinks menu. A pivotal scene in the movie Shame played out at The Standard. Tower Heist was filmed at the Trump International New York Hotel & Towers. And the Waldorf=Astoria’s Hall of Mirrors appeared in The Adjustment Bureau, along with Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.
Most hotels alert their Facebook fans when a filming takes place. Still, the best way to learn where a film crew is about to descend is On Location Vacations, which posts daily listings of on-site filming throughout the country.
As for Smash, we plan to tune in to the season finale airing Monday, May 14, in the hopes of seeing more than just actors.