The show Mozart in the Jungle, a commissioned series by Amazon for Prime Instant Video will return for a second season this fall starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Lola Kirke and Jason Schwartzman. Based in New York City and inspired by the book Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music, a memoir by oboe player Blair Tindall, the show is set in New York City and follows the trials and tribulations of Hailey, an oboe player and her encounters with Rodrigo, the international superstar who is the new music director and conductor of the troubled (and fictional) New York Symphony.
Beyond an entertaining, binge-worthy first season, Mozart in the Jungle features some wonderful film locations, which urban explorers will recognize. It’s clear the film scouts on this show knows their stuff about New York City and its alternative side. Here are some highlights of New York City film locations from the first season:
1. The Public Theater as New York Symphony Hall
In Mozart in the Jungle, the New York Symphony rehearses and performs in this theater, which is actually the Public Theater on Lafayette Street just south of Astor Place. Many encounters between characters take place in front of this well-known building, a New York City landmark. For the filming, both the stand-alone billboards and the hanging banners were changed to advertise the first concert conducted by Rodrigo, featuring the fictional violinist Ana Maria, Rodrigo’s tumultuous, on-and-off girlfriend.
The Romanesque revival building was originally a library built by John Jacob Astor, who founded the organization that later became the New York Public Library. Threatened with demolition, the building was purchased by the city and converted into a theater in the late 1960s. Its most recent renovation was completed in 2012, and the theater plays host to Shakespeare (including the Shakespeare in the Park performances in Central Park) as well as the works of up and coming playwrights.