Entertainment NOW

October 28, 2023

Kokomo Tribune Entertainment NOW

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Entertainment Now | October 28 - November 3, 2023 By Dana Simpson TV Media W hether first heard as a quippy one-liner from famous New York hu- morist Fran Lebowitz ("Pretend It's a City") or read in Es- ther Crain's book "The Gilded Age in New York, 1870–1910," there is little doubt you've heard about New York City's penchant for change. Per Crain's aforemen- tioned book, released in 2016 and available through most major booksellers, "the most common observation about New York is that it never stops evolving." This is especially true in the HBO series "The Gilded Age," pre- miering Season 2 on its home net- work and the Max streaming ser- vice Sunday, Oct. 29. Starring Car- rie Coon ("Gone Girl," 2014), Cynthia Nixon ("Sex and the City") and Christine Baranski ("Mamma Mia!," 2008) as some of New York's finest wealthy gos- sips, the series follows a group of business moguls and socialites as they work hard to make a name for themselves and build an em- pire in New York City during the turn of the 20th century. Coon stars as Bertha Russell, a "new money heiress" who caused some major waves in Season 1 alongside her husband, railroad ty- coon George Russell (Morgan Spector, "The Plot Against Ameri- ca"), and her fellow socialite Mrs. Caroline Astor (Donna Murphy, "The Nanny Diaries," 2007), the leader of aristocratic social society called The Four Hundred. With her own societal standing foremost in her sights, Bertha often stirs up more trouble than is necessary to get what she wants. Also to blame for her fair bit of trouble is Marian Brook (new tal- ent Louisa Jacobson), who fell on hard times when her father died in the series premiere and began Sea- son 1 by moving into her estranged aunts' house for a bit of a lifestyle makeover in the Big Apple. Mari- an's aunts, Ada Brook (Nixon) and Agnes Van Rhijn (Baranski), both belong to the old-money world and thus have very particular views on how things should be done among New York's finest. While Marian does her best to please her aunts, she has also learned that not everyone sub- scribes to her family's conservative school of thought. Returning alongside Coon, Mur- phy, Jacobson, Nixon and Baranski for Season 2 is Denée Benton ("UnREAL"), who plays Peggy Scott, a highly motivated writer who moved from Pennsylvania to New York City with Marian. De- spite holding down a job as Agnes' secretary, Peggy is of respectable societal standing herself and has come to enjoy the company of her old friend in a new city. She also enjoys testing the boundaries set in place by those in high-up posi- tions, often complicating matters for herself and those closest to her. Headed into the show's second season, the Primetime Emmy-win- ning series follows more of the pet- ticoat-clad drama that comes along with Gilded-era expansion. This time, according to the official HBO trailer, it seems that the bulk of the hullabaloo centers on the world of the operatic arts. More specifically, it likely revolves around the 1886 closing of the Metropolitan Opera House. As newcomers to the show (and maybe even some fans) may not yet know, "The Gilded Age" takes many of its plot lines from the an- nals of history. While hardly to be considered a true story, the first season held to realities of the rob- ber barons of the late 1800s, like the railroading Russells. (The As- tors were also a real family, fiction- alized for the series.) Now headed into its second season, "The Gilded Age" is placing its focus on the so- called "Opera House War" of the 1890s and the subsequent end of the "Knickerbocker era." According to Crain, who wrote of this historic moment in "The Gilded Age in New York," as the theater district began to spread across Manhattan, "seeing the opera wasn't the point" of going to the show, rather "being seen was." And as these types of out- ings began to cater to more and more people from varying walks of life, members of the wealthier classes could no longer procure seats. And so, they did what any multimillionaire family of the Gilded Age would do: they opened their own opera house. While Crain's book and HBO's drama series are not affiliated, even just a quick glance at the lit- erature signals that the show may feature more than a few interest- ing characters this season. While no such castings have been con- firmed, Crain's accounts list circus showman P.T. Barnham, piano- maker William Steinway, socialite Alva Vanderbilt and more among influential figures in and around New York at the time. A few more characters viewers can count on returning, however, are the aforementioned Russells — as well as Gladys (Taissa Farmiga, "American Horror Sto- ry") and Larry Russell (Harry Rich- ardson, "Dunkirk," 2017) — Os- car Van Rhijn (Blake Ritson, "RocknRolla," 2008), Mr. Bannis- ter (Simon Jones, "The Hitchhik- er's Guide to the Galaxy") and Mr. Church (Jack Gilpin, "21," 2008). Meanwhile, joining the cast are Laura Benanti ("Life and Beth"), Christopher Denham ("Argo," 2012), Robert Sean Leonard ("House"), Matilda Lawler ("Station Eleven"), Ben Lamb ("Divergent," 2014), Dakin Matthews ("Gilmore Girls"), Ni- cole Brydon Bloom ("1BR," 2019) and David Furr ("The Highway- men," 2019). Don't miss the expansion of New York City and Julian Fellow- es' ("Downton Abbey") period drama "The Gilded Age" when Season 2 premieres Sunday, Oct. 29, on HBO and Max. David Furr and Louisa Jacobson in "The Gilded Age" Operatic opposition: HBO period drama lifts curtain on Season 2 2 | Cover story Grindstone Charlie's 1 x 4" Moore's Home Health 5 x 2"

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