Thursday, October 27, 2016

Free in NY: Watch a Taping of Kevin Can Wait

With Kevin James and Erinn Hayes
Broadway ticket prices go for hundreds of dollars, but you can see free live theater in New York if you plan in advance, reserving tickets to a taping of a television show. This is truly live theater; shows are filmed in front of an audience and an emcee keeping things lively.

One of the perks of blogging is being invited to special behind-the-scenes events, like a recent opportunity I had to go to the set of Kevin Can Wait and meet the stars, Kevin James and Erinn Hayes, and director. But anyone can go online and see a show being taped, for free.

Seat from Shea Stadium!
This is a common experience in Los Angeles, where most television shows are taped. My husband’s cousin is a writer and we’ve gotten to go on set a few times. Back home in New York, we’ve seen the Rachael Ray show and Martha Stewart; both of these are great because they often come with swag. No, not Oprah-sized gifts, but things like cookbooks, aprons, kitchen utensils and food.

At the Kevin Can Wait taping, the studio audience is often treated to fresh pizza. If you haven’t watched the CBS show, (which moves this week to a new time slot, 8 pm ET on Mondays) the main character hangs out at a pizza restaurant. To keep the show authentic, pizza is sent in whenever there’s a restaurant scene.

Long Island, for real
What also keeps the show authentic is filming it on Long Island, where the show is set and where the star, Kevin James, grew up. His last show, King of Queens, was set nearby, but filmed in California; in Kevin Can Wait, the sense of place is palpable.

Kevin loves the Mets
Kevin, a notorious Mets fan, (both the actor and the character) has a stage home filled with Mets and other local sports teams’ memorabilia; actual seats from the old Mets home, Shea stadium, pennants from the Knicks, Jets’ knick knacks.

The Halloween episode (which actually airs ON Halloween; again, at 8pm ET) even guest stars a current Mets player, Noah Syndergaard. Of course, if the Mets had made it past the wild card this year, we would be watching the Mets play in the World Series, but there’s always next year - if Kevin can wait, so can I.

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