Jason Cochran

Stuff you never knew you never knew

I am beginning to think that Twitter appeals to the lazy guy in me. Instead of posting something here, I tweet it (@bastable) because that’s quicker and shorter. But so many of my activities are not being properly preserved except at the Library of Congress.

Last night, for example. I went to the opening party for the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying at the Plaza Hotel. I was helping my friend Ken Kleiber (of the beloved New York City cable show “That’s Kentertainment“) shoot red carpet interviews with the cast and creatives. One journalist acquaintance spotted me and asked who I was interviewing people for. No, no, I said. This time, I’m behind the camera.

And because I was behind the camera, I captured this moment which, for some reason, I find endearing and hilarious: Daniel Radcliffe, Mr. Harry Potter himself, meeting Liza Minnelli for the very first time. Since everyone else was embroiled in their own interviews with other cast members, I managed to capture the hug and the expression of absolute rapture on this kid’s face when he met her. The kid had just opened his own Broadway musical as an above-the-title lead, he’s facing an adoring squad of flashbulb-popping, ass-kissing entertainment journalists — and yet he nearly bites his tongue off with excitement at meeting Liza.

Here are some screen grabs of his delirious moment:

Daniel Radcliffe meeting Liza Minnelli

Daniel Radcliffe meeting Liza Minnelli

You can see a lot more pictures of Daniel’s giddy schoolboy fancrush on Ken’s website.

There were some other standout moments. Like when Neil Simon, for some reason, got onto the red carpet to give interviews (he didn’t write the show). To get him chatting, Ken asked if they had seen the show, and his wife sarcastically pipes in, “No, we were all dressed up and walking past the Plaza and saw there was a party, so we wandered in. What do you think?” Then, to my surprise, Neil told Ken that the show wasn’t the greatest thing he’d ever seen. Guys, if you’re going to crash the red carpet, at least play the media game nice.

It just confirms my theory: Like postage stamps, theatres should not be named after the living. With all due respect.

Neil Simon and his wife

And then there was the moment that Michele Lee, who was the ingenue in the 1967 movie version, put down her glass of red wine to do an interview by the light of an iPad. (Strangely, the guys next to us in the line had no proper lights — they used an iPad set to a blank screen.) She snatched it up and said it was all part of her best advice for staying in show business: “Bring your own light!”

Michele Lee and an iPad

I shot this while I was shooting Daniel. Damn, he’s English. Having also covered the red carpet at the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, I can attest that he gives more attention to the journalists on the red carpet than anyone else I’ve ever seen. He was there for more than an hour and I don’t think he even went to the party it was supposed to be a part of. He’s just an all-around mensch.

Daniel Radcliffe
Here are Ken and me after the professional camera hogs left:
Ken Kleiber and Jason Cochran

Sometimes New York is such a kick that I hate myself for the times I curse it.

Somewhere right about now, Daniel Radcliffe is probably playing Liza with a Z and agreeing with me.

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3 comments. Add a Comment:

  1. Ken says:

    Jason- I LOVE this post and I love how well you succinctly and entertainingly describe the highlights of the evening. You should be a journalist, not a cameraman! :) (Thank you again.) AND I love how you put the “Neil Simon Red Carpet Incident” into perspective. You know, I found Mr. Simon and his wife Elaine Joyce-Simon to be so kookily removed from the proceedings that all I could think about at that moment was his kidney transplant, her appearing on THE MATCH GAME ’73 and how she once handed Mary Tyler Moore a note he wrote which read, “learn your lines or get out of my play”. MTM made the right decision and got the hell out of that mess. Unfortunately I couldn’t go anywhere…so I stayed the hell in this mess and had a perfectly wonderful time (Simple Simon’s included). (You didn’t mention that she said I was “cute” so at least we know she’s an incredibly smart and talented woman.) Terrific post!

  2. […] UPDATE:  Jason Cochran wrote a terrific post offering his perspective from behind the camera for the evening,  You can read it here. […]

  3. Barbara says:

    Thank you, Jason, for your photos, your comments, and most of all for sharing them with us! I so wish I had been there last night, but will be in NYC to see H2S in May! Can’t wait!!!

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