After leaving the set of the FOX TV show "FRINGE" at 66th Street after 9PM Wednesday night September 3rd, I found myself drifting downtown past the Pierre Hotel at E.61st Street--I chatted with the doorman and was happy to learn that their Piano Room was due to resume after it had been closed last year indefinitely. Continuing on 5th Avenue under a full moon, the wondrous Plaza Hotel rose like a Phoenix in the NYC night sky. It had been under reconstruction for several years and has been opening gradually for business. This venue brought back sentimental memories for me, as I had played two galas there in April 1996 for actress Rosetta LeNoire and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. I entered the historic venue and a manager updated me on their progress there...later I met up with my actor friend(who is in the upcoming Broadway musical "A Tale of Two Cities".) We hit a few bars in Hell's Kitchen and retired for the night--as I had a 9AM call for the film "Unorthodox" in the Central Park West area of 76th Street--160 CPW at the Fourth Universalist Society Church (http://www.thecityreview.com/uws/cpw/cpw160.html ) This would be the holding area for all of the upscale folks in tuxedoes and nightgowns for this upscale cocktail party(perhaps even a wedding--not sure at this writing)..I arrived at holding via taxi around 9AM; we helped ourselves to some breakfast just outside the doors of the church, and wardrobe checked our tuxes and gowns afterward. I could not find my black bow tie and had brought along a red paisley bow tie and cumberbund and royal blue tie and cumberbund as options. The black bow tie they supplied for me they later changed their minds about, and they fetched a regular scarlet long tie. I showed them the red paisley--and after a few meetings with the director, the wardrobe dude returned with the decision that MY red tie and cumberbund "won out"(funny--that had been given to me by a waitress who worked an Allentown PA bar then called "H.A. Winston's" in the 1980's--has been a "Rookies Sports Bar" ever since--I'll have to let her know that her tie got into a Hallmark Hall of Fame film--LOL!!)...Prior to going to set we all had makeup and hair done by professionals. I was also given a CD of the music I would be "mimicing" to--that is, I would be pretending to play the piano keys, as the background tracks on the CD would be the actual music aired. (This would be similar to my stint back in March 2008 on the film "Confessions of a Shopaholic" where I am mimicing playing the church organ to background organ music). The songs were very familiar to me--old standards from Gershwin, Porter and Kern("Someone to Watch Over Me", "Night and Day", "The Way You Look Tonight" and "I've Got You Under My Skin"). In the late morning hours we headed around the block to the set; the grand piano lid was actually "taped down" so it could not be lifted, and a flourescent light was attached to it perhaps to illuminate me behind the piano. The shots of me would be of me "behind the piano" so my hands would actually not be seen, as the emphasis would be on the actors dancing in the foreground. A few of them would be the lead actors and they had dialogue occuring during the dancing, so we were the "backdrop" for their scenes(one of the stars is Lauren Ambrose of "Six Feet Under" ( http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0024404/ ) I was given an earpiece so I could hear the music piped in--there would be times where the music was shut off for the dancers but I would still hear it in my head--they would not, and would have to keep dancing as if the music was playing...this would be where dialogue lines were being spoken between actors-- and so no music could be heard there. My first "piano playing" however involved the "mingling of the guests", and the camera was further away from me--it was only 12 hours later that we would finally get to the scenes of me actually playing for "the dancers". Yes folks--this was to be the LONGEST I ever was on set for a film or TV show--15 hours! We wrapped at 1:00AM--and I had called my NYC friend to alert him that I needed to "crash again" at his place--as I was going to miss the last bus back to Allentown(12:15AM bus). On the set I had met the director Jeff Bleckner (http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0088121/ )and he asked if the CD had helped me to become familiar with the songs--I said I knew them all--and could have sung and played them live. But I know that they need the background tracks for continuity and exact timing, and of course "sound quality"--but he said he'd try to get a shot of my hands playing...that never happened, as perhaps the day got away from them a bit with the long shoot..."LOVING LEAH" follows the story of three Jewish families and the unorthodox decisions they are faced with--airing Sunday, January 25th on CBS as the 235th presentation of the legendary Hallmark Hall of Fame.