'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Series Fuels A Themed New York Bus Tour

Dec 22, 2019
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For fans who can't get enough of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the hit Amazon show about a young woman in the 1950s who becomes a standup comic, there is now a bus tour. It goes to many locations in New York City where the show is filmed. And reporter Jeff Lunden decided to hitch a ride.

JEFF LUNDEN, BYLINE: I was wearing my jeans, but our tour guide wore a smart period outfit - green dress and hat and a politically incorrect fur.

ALLIE DOMAN: Good morning, everyone. And welcome to Mrs. Maisel's Marvelous Tour of New York City. Are we excited?

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Yes.

DOMAN: Yes. So let me introduce myself. My name is the marvelous Allie Doman.

LUNDEN: We started across the street from the original B. Altman's department store, now a graduate school.

DOMAN: This is actually where we see Midge Maisel outside, absolutely thrilled because she just got a job as the makeup counter girl.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I ENJOY BEING A GIRL")

SUTTON FOSTER: (Singing) When I have a brand-new hairdo.

LUNDEN: And we were off on a 2 1/2-hour tour that took us through neighborhoods like Greenwich Village, where "Mrs. Maisel" is filmed. The excursion is the brainchild of Georgette Blau, who created On Location Tours 20 years ago.

GEORGETTE BLAU: We operate the "Sopranos" Tour, the "Sex And The City" Tour, the "Gossip Girl" Tour, the TCM Classic Film Tour.

LUNDEN: You get the picture.

DOMAN: So, my friends, here on the left-hand side, we're going to see the Old Town Bar. And this is Joel's favorite bar in the show. We see him getting pretty wasted with his friend Archie here.

LUNDEN: That's Joel, Midge Maisel's cheating husband.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL")

MICHAEL ZEGEN AND JOEL JOHNSTONE: (As Joel Maisel and Archie Cleary, singing) Don't be nervous. Don't be flustered. Don't be scared. Be prepared.

LUNDEN: Standing outside the neon-lit bar, I met a trio from Freehold, N.J., Mala Avani and her sons Neil and Nick.

NICK: We're big fans of the show. And I think that mom saw it on TV, and we also saw it on TV. We wanted to see how it was recreated from present day to the 1950s look.

LUNDEN: And their mom wanted to see the clubs where Mrs. Maisel performs.

MALA AVANI: Well, she does a lot of the standup comedy itself. You know, I mean, I want to see where that was being done.

LUNDEN: As it turns out, the club interiors were filmed in a Brooklyn studio. But we did see a lot of exterior locations like the stairway where Midge goes into the Gaslight Cafe.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL")

RACHEL BROSNAHAN: (As Midge Maisel) So when my son asks something uncomfortable like, why doesn't daddy live here anymore? I just say, yes, Howdy Doody is a real boy.

(LAUGHTER)

LUNDEN: We did enter the butcher shop from the pilot, Cafe Reggio, where Midge's dad meets his lawyer over cappuccinos. And...

DOMAN: We are here at The Music Inn. This is where we see Midge with Susie exploring different comedy records.

LUNDEN: The interior, filled with musical instruments and records, feels like walking back through time. Jeff Slatnick is the store's owner.

JEFF SLATNICK: The shop itself has been here since 1958, when the Village was very dominant in the folk music scene and stuff like that.

LUNDEN: After a long afternoon where we did some walking outside in the 25-degree weather, we were deposited in front of the greasy spoon where Midge and Joel play many happy and sad scenes in the series. And seeing it made Mala Avani from New Jersey happy.

AVANI: You know, I could just relate it. I felt like I was in the show, you know what I mean?

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL")

BROSNAHAN: (As Midge Maisel) I'm Mrs. Maisel. Thank you, and good night.

(APPLAUSE)

LUNDEN: For NPR News, I'm Jeff Lunden in New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.