Veteran journalist Harry Haun has covered theater and film in New York for over 40 years. His writing has appeared in outlets such as Playbill Magazine (“On the Aisle” and “Theatregoer’s Notebook”), New York Daily News (where he wrote a weekly Q&A column (“Ask Mr. Entertainment”), New York Observer, New York Sun, Broadway World and Film Journal International.
Haun is the author of two books “The Movie Quote Book” and “The Cinematic Century: An Intimate Diary of America’s Affair with the Movies”.
Over his illustrious career as a journalist, Mr. Haun has interviewed some of the greatest entertainers of our time.
Currently, Mr.Haun, is writing his own truly delightful column for Theater Pizzazz entitled Screen of Consciousness.
T2C: When did you first move into Manhattan Plaza and how did you get into the building?
Harry Haun: In 2005. Yesterday was 15 years, however we didn’t move in until May. We had another apartment and storage, so for a month we paid two rents and storage. It took 8 years to get into the building. I would check in every once and awhile to make sure I was still on the list. When I saw the view, I was hooked. It was like a Ginger Rogers film about old New York. Sparklers went off in my head.
T2C: Who were your friends in the building?
Harry Haun: The whole building is full of show biz. You know everybody. There’s theatre talk in the elevator. I strarted interviewing people before and after I lived in the building. On my floor I am 44B, Angela Lansbury was in 44A. Also Tennessee Williams was on our floor. Samuel L. Jackson was our desk clerk.
T2C: What are your fondest memories of living in the plaza?
Harry Haun: The wonderful ease of it. I love walking to the theatre. 43rd between 9th and 10th is my favorite block. I feel alive here. Everyone says hi and is friendly. The streets are well patrolled and safe. It’s a different story from 9th to 8th.
T2C: You have written two books are there more?
Harry Haun: I am expanding one of the books now. It is like a page out of the Hollywood Reporter. The book will have movie events for everyday. It’s a trivia book with fun facts. Like the day Marilyn Monroe’s skirt flew up. I am having fun writing this. It’s what I am doing this time off.
T2C: What have been the biggest changes to the neighborhood?
Harry Haun: I wasn’t here in the sleaze period. It has since been gentrified. I do miss “Say Cheese”. I liked that guy. I loved “Curtain Up”. I interviewed Chita Rivera and Ted Hook there.
T2C: What does living in the building allowed you to accomplish?
Harry Haun: I had the freedom to write columns all the time. I am energized by the people. George N. Martin of Painting Churches was the first actor I interviewed in Manhattan Plaza. Then Larkin Ford, who was in The Roundabout Theatre Company’s 12 Angry Men. He died in Manhattan Plaza in 2007. This had been his last hurrah. Dylan and Becky Baker, Jane Alexander, who I interviewed at the Westway, Jan Maxwell (several times), Sam Tsoutsouvas, Georgia Osborne, Mary Alice (a Tony winner).
T2C: How does living in the building make you feel?
Harry Haun: Energized
T2C: What would you change from your time living in Manhattan Plaza?
Harry Haun: I find it pretty close to perfect. I find this building gives me everything I want. It is like the Estelle Parson’s quote: “Without the arts New York is like 5 Cleveland’s.
T2C: What is your fondest memory of New york?
Harry Haun: What I’ve done I have loved. I have gone to Broadway and Off Broadway opening nights for 20 to 30 years. It’s like angel food cake. I still adore it, but it is different. It’s the nearest thing to heaven we have in New York. It as close to heaven as I’m ever going to get.
T2C: What would you like us to know that we haven’t asked you?
Harry Haun: I am a serious person about the arts. I research because I am serious about what I write about. I am a perfectionist. I am not perfect, but I do strive for that.
The documentary Miracle on 42nd Street, is available on Amazon and will soon be available to stream.