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"The Playboy Club" TV Show Pilot Casting Musicians As Extras

Yup...there's my Dad, keyholder # C20744 dancing with a peroxided blonde Disco Bunny to the jazz sounds of the Joe Iaco Trio, circa 1961...(photo: Richard Watters, Sr. dancing to the Joe Iaco Trio at The Chicago Playboy Club in the Sixties).

Hold on to your hat Chicago music makers. Casting musicians to work as paid extras has begun for the
NBC TV pilot “The Playboy Club” being filmed here in ChiTown. Joan Philo Casting (Public Enemies, A Nightmare On Elm St.) started searching about three weeks ago for jazz musicians and bands to recreate the 1960’s club scene!

The Imagine & Fox Studio pilot, “The Playboy Club,” directed by ALAN TAYLOR (Mad Men, Sex in the City) is searching for males to be cast as Musicians. It’s the 1960’s all over again! True to the times and the look of the Playboy Club we require the following to be considered for these paid, non-speaking extra roles: Male musicians, ages 18 and up, all ethnicities, with instruments to work as a jazz band (playing instruments to recorded playback for a club scene). Pay rate is TBD for this project. If chosen this would include a wardrobe fitting, rehearsals, and the shoot itself.
Jeff Hephner has been cast to play the club's founder, Hugh Hefner.

They will be shooting in mid-March for approximately 13 days. The band would need to be available for a set number of days (TBD) for the shoot. They will not be shooting on Saturdays or Sundays. It may be a little late but, if interested, please send photos (ASAP) of yourself and your instrument with your band or without to: in the subject of the e-mail put “Jazz musician”. Needed is height, weight, clothing sizes, age and experience. PLEASE INCLUDE PHONE NUMBER. If you have pictures of yourself playing on stage all the better! In fact, one of Chicago's very own extraordinary jazz artists, trumpeter Corey Wilkes (pictured below), landed the gig playing in the NBC TV show's house band for "The Playboy Club" pilot!

The jazz connection of course is that the original house band was the jazz-laden Joe Iaco Trio, comprised of
Joe Iaco on piano (passed in 2005), Ernest Outlaw on violin bass (passed in 2003), and Chuck Christiansen on drums (one of several). Iaco was the musical director for the club putting in 25 years there.

Another bit of trivia, the darling petite red-head, Lynn, the greeter during weekdays at the door of
Andy's Jazz Club at State and Hubbard in The Loop, did a stint at the Chicago Playboy Club as The Photo Bunny! Here is a link to the "Ex-Playboy Bunnies" site to look up those former Bunnies and former employees from the club's past days and to check out the History of the Bunny.

Hefner got the idea for the key-club format from one that was already established in Chicago,
The Gaslight Club (which still exists as the lounge/restaurant at the O'Hare Hilton). The first Playboy Club opened in Chicago on 116 E. Walton Street. The doors opened for the first time on the leap year night of February 29th, 1960. Paradise on Earth had arrived. Read more about that famous night in Playboy's own 40th Anniversary Tribute.

Of course being born the year Playboy came into being, JAZZzology editor Richard Watters, Jr. (a chip off the old block) made the 50th Anniversary Party back in 2003 to celebrate his birthday! He's pictured (below) sitting with two Bunnies on Hef's original round bed, not to mention posing with 2001's Playmate Of The Year. 'NufSed.

Published-Tuesday, 22 Mar 2011, 3:15 PM CST
Revised-Tuesday, 22 Mar 2011, 3:08 PM CST

"Filming Locations In and Around ChiTown For Playboy Pilot TV Show"
Chicago - The new TV pilot "The Playboy Club", which will capture the early of the magazine and stars Eddie Cibrian, is filming on Madison Street between Wabash and Michigan in Chicago beginning March 15th through March 19th.
...more details by clicking here.

( :
Published-Friday, 4 Feb 2011, 1:04 PM PST
Revised-Tuesday, 22 Mar 2011, 3:05 PM CDT

"Amber Heard and Naturi Naughton Cast as Bunnies For Playboy Pilot"
Hollywood - Heard will play Maureen, a new hire at the club, an inquisitive young woman with an untethered sexuality and a dark past. Naughton, will play Brenda, a stunning African-American Bunny determined to become the first black Playboy centerfold
...more details by clicking here.

( :
Published-Friday, 16 Feb 2011, 11:02 PM CDT
Revised-Tuesday, 22 Mar 2011, 2:56 PM CDT

"Laura Benanti To Star In Playboy Pilot"
New York - Laura Benanti will play Carol-Lynne, a 30-year-old bombshell and an established star at the Playboy Club who knows that her days as a Bunny are numbered
...more details by clicking here.

(source:TheEntertainmentHotline.Net) :
Published-Friday, 11 Mar 2011, 10:54 PM CDT
Revised-Tuesday, 22 Mar 2011, 8:15 AM CDT

"Eddie Cibrian Replaces Jeff Hephner In Lead Role Of Hugh Hefner"
Hollywood - Supposedly the Network wanted a more recognizable name for the lead role of Hugh Hefner, so they made a last minute change to go with former "CSI:Miami" actor
Eddie Cibrian...more details by clicking here.

(source:Sun-Times Media Wire) :
Published-Thursday, 17 Mar 2011, 11:57 AM CDT
Revised-Friday, 18 Mar 2011, 8:15 AM CDT

Buses to Be Rerouted Downtown for Filming of Playboy TV Show Pilot
Evanston's Dawes House also to be used
Chicago - Six downtown CTA buses will be rerouted beginning Friday as streets are shuttered for filming of an NBC pilot about an African-American woman's quest to become a Playboy centerfold in the 1960s. Madison Street between Michigan and Wabash avenues will be closed to all vehicular traffic beginning about 6 p.m. Friday until about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, a release from the CTA said. NBC is filming "Playboy Club," a pilot focusing on a young woman's attempt to become the first African-American Playboy centerfold.

Due to the street closure, the following reroutes will be in effect:
•Northbound No. 14 Jeffery buses will travel over the regular route to Michigan/Adams then operate via Adams, State to Madison and resume the regular route. Southbound buses not affected.
•Eastbound No. 20 Madison buses will operate over the regular route to Washington/State, then will travel via State to Madison before beginning the westbound trip.
•Westbound No. 20 Madison buses operating to Randolph/Columbus only will travel over the regular route to Randolph past Michigan to State, then will operate south on State to Madison then resume the regular route.
•Southbound No. 56 Milwaukee buses will travel over the regular route to Monroe/State then will operate via State to Madison before beginning the northbound trip.
•Westbound No. 60 Blue Island/26th and No. 157 Streeterville buses will travel over their regular routes to Randolph past Michigan to State, then will operate on State to Madison and then resume their regular routes.
•Westbound No.124 Navy Pier buses will operate over the regular route to Michigan/Randolph then will travel via Randolph, State to Madison and then resume the regular route.

The Charles Gates Dawes House, home to the Evanston History Center, no doubt played host to some festive times when Charles Gates Dawes, the 30th vice president of the United States, lived with his family in the residence during the early and mid-20th century, but that may not be able to match up with the party that's soon to be the subject of the television pilot filming there. Twentieth Century Fox crews were seen Wednesday moving props into the Dawes House, at 225 Greenwood St., preparing to use the interiors for the filming of the pilot on legendary Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner and Chicago's Playboy Mansion.

The NBC pilot is to be set in the year 1963, at the Playboy Club in Chicago, according to one report, and will follow a young woman's attempt to become the first African-American Playboy centerfold -- squarely in line with Evanston's sense of social conscience. The filming is to take place over two days next week, confirmed Eden Juron Pearlman, director of the center, which has exhibits and maintains artifacts from Evanston's early history. Film crews are using only a portion of the 25-room mansion, said Pearlman. She said the center was originally contacted about six to eight weeks ago about the possibility of filming at the Dawes House. “Two weeks ago they came back and said we were the place,” she said.

The original Playboy Mansion, a 70-room French brick and limestone building, was located at 1340 N. State St. in Chicago. According to Wikipedia, the mansion boasted a brass plate on the door with the Latin inscription, Si Non Oscillas, Noli Tintinnare ("If you don't swing, don't ring"). The exterior is still intact, but the building itself has gone through changes of use since Hefner moved his operation to the West Coast. Pearlman said crews were using a portion of the Dawes Home, a 25-room mansion, for the filming of their interior shots.

“It's actually been very fun,” Pearlman said, saying the crews had been “conscientious and responsible” in their use of the mansion, a designated National Historic Landmark. The exterior of the Dawes House was used in shots for the 2002 movie Road to Perdition starring Tom Hanks and the late Paul Newman. Will the Dawes House appear in credits for the Playboy pilot? Pearlman didn't sound as if the center would be seeking such attention. As for remuneration, she declined to divulge a figure, except to say, "enough to be worthwhile” for the History Center.

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