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Last Remaining Seats "Succeeds" on Opening Night

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Thursday, May 27, 2010, at 09:41PM
Last Remaining Seats 2010 Ed Fuentes

Opening night crowd outside the Los Angeles Theater for Last Remaining Seats.

Last Remaining Seats took a trip into the 1960s on Wednesday, as the Los Angeles Conservancy opened its latest season with a screening of the 1967 film "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." The preservation group has been on a yearlong campaign to highlight the decade in its "The Sixties Turn 50" campaign.

Stars Robert Morse and Michele Lee spoke to the audience before the screening, appropriately introduced by "Mad Men" producer Matthew Weiner.

Morse stars in the AMC series as Senior Partner of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce Agency, which is based in early 1960s Manhattan. The Broadway musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" ran on Broadway from 1961 to 1965, also starring Robert Morse.

"It's very hard not to mention it in the show," said Weiner to the audience before introducing the two stars. "But we just thought it was too cute to have Bobby [as Betram Copper] wanting to say 'I hate that show, I hate that play . . . that boy with that space in his teeth.' "

The 60s trip went on, as the Los Angeles Theater and other Downtown locations double as New York for "Mad Men," prompting Weiner's own pitch for preservation.

Weiner said that when they made the pilot in 2006, he wanted the production design to note the impact the 1960s had on buildings and design beyond pop culture kitsch. When the show was picked up, Weiner recalls "every location except for the Lennox Lounge was destroyed in New York."

"Every time you think you are in a safe place, you think you are O.K., then there are waves of destruction that happens with no regard for the past,' Weiner said, adding that he is often asked what the real message of "Mad Men" is: "'Is it about how bad it is?' or "How different we are?'"

According to Weiner, the message is "Stop tearing sh*t down. You are going to miss it."

Los Angeles Conservancy Presents the 24th Annual Last Remaining Seats / All shows sold out except for "Flor silvestre (Wild Flower)," June 3 at the Million Dollar Theater, and "Peter Pan," June 30 at the Orpheum Theatre.

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