Have you seen the new TV show Smash? It takes you behind the scenes in the making of a Broadway musical. So far, I’ve seen three episodes and I’m enjoying it…
Debra Messing (Grace of Will & Grace) is Julia, who along with her writing partner Tom, create a musical about the life of Marilyn Munro. A rather nasty director is hired and they start workshopping scenes. The part of Marilyn is up for grabs between two young women: Ivy, played by Broadway star Megan Hilty and Karen played by Katharine McPhee. Hilty is probably best known for playing the Dolly Parton role in “9 to 5” and Glinda in “Wicked” on Broadway. Her character Ivy has Broadway experience in the ensemble, and she longs for the big breakthrough lead role. McPhee is a former American Idol finalist, and on the show, her character Karen is the newcomer to the stage, working as a server.
Logically, Ivy is selected to play Marilyn – she looks the part, blonde and curvy with a powerhouse musical theatre voice. But Karen is not going to be forgotten, we have too much invested in her for her to leave the series after just two or three episodes.
There are sub-plots involving family members of all the characters. Angelica Houston plays an aggressive producer with marital problems.
But most intriguing are the big musical numbers and choreographed scenes being readied for the production. Which all begs the big question: Will there really be a musical Marilyn on Broadway, making use of all the wonderful songs that were written for this TV show?