‘Woman. Maisel’ Sound, Music Teams Perform High-Wire in Season 5 – IndieWire

When music supervisor Robin Urdang read the first episode of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” she knew she was in for a challenge.

The pilot for Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino’s hour-long comedy asked for a song from Barbra Streisand, an artist whose work rarely makes it to film, let alone television. This immediately set the standard for the working relationship between Urdang and the Palladinos, and the level of communication and adaptability that would be required for a Prime Video series.

Urdang spoke to IndieWire with supervising sound editor/re-recorder mixer Ron Bochar, production mixer Mathew Price, and “Maisel’s” music and lyrics team Curtis Moore and Thomas Mizer as part of the season’s consideration of the series at the Emmys – about their film. -a winning piece on indelible comedy and the unique challenges and joys of Season 5. It didn’t take long for the conversation to turn to Episode 4, “Susan,” which features not one but three industries: fully staged musical performances to promote the products of companies that were popular when “Maisel” was set.

Aubrey Plaza at the 2023 Film Independent Spirit Awards

Steven Soderbergh at TIFF 2021

“I saw a sketch and privately said to Tom and Curtis, ‘I think you’re going to have something to do in episode 104,’” Urdang said.

The duo watched “Bathtubs Over Broadway” Sherman-Palladino in the past, and they were no strangers to the concept—but it was still a bit of a mess to get all the songs done in two or three weeks.

“Amy called us into a conference room about three and a half weeks before the first recording session was scheduled,” Mizer said. “He showed us the set, the drawings, and he says: ‘It’s about garbage!’ You designed the set and didn’t tell me what it was about?

There is no bitterness in Mizer’s tone; after joining the show in Season 3, he and Moore knew how to rise to the occasion and recognized the Palladinos’ creative trust in them, even on a tight timeline. “To be able to work with one of the great comedy writers to send jokes to her…anytime the trash girls yell ‘Hoboken!’, Amy makes me laugh every time, just every time. And this is my proudest moment.”

“Private Demolition and Waste Management” moved forward, live during filming, with changes made on set.

“(Sherman-Palladino) said, ‘I’m not sure, I think there’s a funnier joke and a funnier line,'” Moore said. “So we had to calm everyone down and Mathew was in the back – we were all standing around a laptop with Emily Bergl (singing) a new song that Tom had written. And if I’m not mistaken, we never loop that. This is it. That’s what we recorded there, that he lip syncs to, and that’s what’s in the final mix. This is madness.”

Maisel rarely repeats or records dialogue, so Bochar and music editor Annette Kudrak have to be ready for almost every audible element of the scene when they get to work. However, the “trash musical” has changed for the two times it appears in the episode, the second of which is interspersed with conversations outside the show.

A man and a woman are sitting at a restaurant table, dressed in 1960s clothing;  still from it
Marin Hinkle and Tony Shalhoub in a “Wonderful Mrs. Maisel” scene that particularly jolted production mixer Mathew Price. Philippe Antonello / Prime Video

A hallmark of a great sound team is that their work seamlessly blends into production, so IndieWire asked the team for their favorite hidden gems of the season. Bochar previously told IndieWire how meticulous “Maisel” is about audience laughter, and the series finale was no exception.

“There’s a laugh in the Lenny Bruce game in the last episode when there’s a drunk woman in the background,” he said. – Except for this one laugh, we closed the mix. It took nine laughs—another nine laughs we had to do to finally get Amy to approve that… everything was done, (but) we still had to ship it to Amazon. I should like it from my phone, make a little video of it, send it. ‘How about that?’ “Okay, that’s good, but can you move it just four frames later?” We literally did that in nine days with one laugh to wrap up the last episode.”

“As a production mix, I count how many people are talking in a scene to decide how challenging the scene is going to be,” Price said. “The Testi-Roastial” (Episode 6) was a big challenge, as was a restaurant dinner for six in Episode 4.

“I like big spaces because I think there’s a huge psychological element to the space you’re actually in,” he said, but Maisel’s big spaces aren’t all soundstages. “I always like to sing live as much as possible. Why worry about lip-synching when you can get a really clean live performance? It’s like any dialogue except they’re singing, so why not do it right away? So I put a hair mic on Leslie (Rodriguez Kritzer), who plays Carol Burnett, and everything was a different play. He sang live for it and it worked out really well.”

Moore noted that he and Mizer wanted all of Episode 4’s musicals to sound like they were written by different people, masquerading as songwriters of the time when approaching each piece (including Stephen Sondheim and Kander and Ebb). They also wrote the score for “The Gordon Ford Show” band, which in one case involved doing a jazz cover of a fake sitcom theme song — a detail that Sherman-Palladino immediately picked up on.

Urdang was looking for Muzak for the episode 2 airport scene between Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) and Lenny (Luke Kirby) when he found the song ‘Til There Was You’ in a catalog – the same song that plays when the two characters dance together in an earlier season. , one of Urdang’s favorite scenes.

“I get goosebumps just thinking about it,” he said. “I said, ‘OK, we have to use this at the airport. And we did and I actually got emails and texts… for me it was so amazingly powerful because to most people it meant nothing and no one will remember it, but to me and obviously to Amy and everyone else it was . a callback that either someone understands or they don’t. It was a piece of Muzak, but it meant a lot to me.”

Tests, rehearsals and test-roasting aside, the voice team of “Maisel” has nothing but appreciation for their years of work and each other, taking every opportunity to appreciate the cooperation of their departments and improve the show together. As Midge and her show got bigger, the voice department was right next to her, and she flourished for five wonderful seasons, a complicated – but exciting – job as it was.

“Never let them see you sweat,” Price said. “Even if you’re panicking inside, smiling, it’s not a problem.”

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