As “Mad Men” closes its accounts for the last time, AMC and Film Independent found a unique way to celebrate the Madison Avenue period drama that fans have loved (and sometimes mocked) for seven seasons: Invite Jason Reitman to direct a stage reading of one of the show’s most iconic episodes.
On Sunday night, fans gathered at the Ace Hotel Theatre to watch a reading of the “The Wheel,” the show’s very first season finale in 2007 that earned series creator Matthew Weiner and Robin Veith an Emmy award nomination.
The cast of readers was clearly made up of fans. Kevin Pollack, shoes in hand, appeared on stage to read the part of Bert Cooper (played by Robert Morse on the show) while Colin Hanks — who actually appeared in season two of the show — came with a drink in hand to play Jon Hamm’s boozing Don Draper. Fred Savage seemed to take a good deal of delight in reading Vincent Kartheiser’s self-satisfied/self-loathing Pete Campbell.
“We should lock the doors and Matthew Weiner doesn’t get to leave until we get a few more seasons,” Reitman said before the reading.
The episode was also a good choice to set up the screening of the series finale that followed, especially for the character of Betty Draper (January Jones) and her backstory with her sick mother.
“I will be in the audience. Leave me alone if you don’t like it,” Weiner said before the screening of the finale.
That wasn’t a problem. He was mobbed with well-wishers at the afterparty as guests dined on steak and potatoes and crab cakes while sipping cocktails and, of course, Coke.