Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Live from NY: It's the SNL Exhibition


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This review is my personal opinion. I am not paid by anyone. I do not receive any amenities (free or discounted).

This blog is about the NBC comedy series, Saturday Night Live. All visual references to this show, including the logos, costume designs, characters, actors' likenesses, set designs, etc, are represented here purely as a news reporting informative blog and are copyrighted. The photos themselves are copyrighted by Marcia Crayton, 2016.

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Saturday Night Live Exhibit Entrance
Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition


There are not too many people who are not familiar with the phrase, "Live, from New York, it's Saturday Night Live!" This line, usually within an opening sketch, starts one of the longest running comedy variety shows that is broadcast on NBC. Like many icons of American culture, it has amassed artifacts and generated interest amongst fans. The result: an exhibit, of course, presented by Premier Exhibitions

When you enter (after purchasing a ticket), you get the red carpet treatment. A video introduces the series (or reacquaints you), the doors open and you are on your way. 

SNL Exhibit Red Carpet
The Red Carpet to the SNL Exhibit

They start with the history of the show with the Lorne Michaels' desk and continues to introduce the Not Ready for Prime Time Players who entertained America starting in 1975. Those who watched then will smile while reminiscing looking at photos of the late Gilda Radner, Jan Hooks, John Belushi, Phil Hartman and others.

The original Not Ready for Prime Time Players.
The famous staircase onto the set
The exhibit actually is a lot like the show: a planned, organized format that seems improvised. It takes you through the week of producing a show, starting with Monday and ending with Saturday. Along the way, you're introduced to writers, costumers, set constructors, directors, musicians, make-up artists, cue cards and of course, the talent in the form of actors, hosts and musical guests.
The board of the show's rundown.
"Video" table: imagine you're in the meeting of the staff as they prepare for the show.

One would expect original artifacts in the form of costumes, actual sets and props and the SNL exhibit does not fail to deliver. You will see scripts, mannequins wearing authentic costumes, a drafting table and the famous news desk. You are allowed to take photos and immerse yourself into the sets. Photos, obviously, are allowed.
Set designs

Model of the television studio and set
Wayne's World
Wayne's World set, with the famous "Jaws" shark

Throughout the exhibit, there are monitors with clips of sketches. This is where you can get your money's worth: viewing the entire loops of clips throughout the tour.

After you tour the gallery of costumes that includes outfits worn by Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, see racks of costumes, view photos and remember the hundreds of musical guests, you can enter a mock-up of the control room. Sit at the desk and become the director and hear how a live broadcast would be.
Control Room

Watch the countdown clock in the control room and the next thing you know, you're be in a facsimile of Studio 8H, watching an abbreviated 15 minute version of the show, with projections coming from all sides. As each area is showing its portion of the show, watch the other areas and how the stage crew is setting up for the next skit. 

"Studio 8H"
In a classy turn, fittingly, there is a wall of All Credited Crew and resume photos of all the cast, some you will know who rose to higher fame as a result of being a cast member, some you may have never heard of and some famous folks you have not have known were ever on the show. Although SNL tends to hire unknowns, some actors with previous notoriety have been cast.

Eddie Murphy's famous Buckwheat costume
Take your picture from the famous "Weekend Update" news desk with your favorite anchor superimposed in the shot.
The ticket fee may be pricey: $25 for adults, $20 for seniors, $20 for children. But, you can spend at least 3 hours there if you read every caption, examine every artifact and linger at every monitor playing video clips. There is a gift shop, of course, accessible from the street without having to go to the exhibit. You can take your picture at the news desk with your choice of your favorite SNL anchor sitting in with you.

Saturday Night Live: The Exhibition

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