Previews

Premature Infatuation: Smash

Our selections for pilots we hope will have a spot on the fall schedule continues. My second pick is for NBC and it’s called Smash. The Gleek in me (for the moment I still consider myself one) wants this show not only to get the greenlight but to succeed once it’s on the air.

The Concept

Smash takes a behind-the-scenes look at the making of a Broadway musical based on Marilyn Monroe. There are so many ways a show like this could go wrong, but I’m going to have faith.

The Muscle

It’s based on a Steven Spielberg idea, so Smash automatically has that going for it. Naturally, it’s a Dreamworks TV production. A couple of the executive producers are Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the EPs of the film version of the Broadway hit musical, Chicago. Plus, composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman wrote original songs. Shaiman and Wittman were the composers for the Tony-winning musical Hairspray.

The Cast

Anjelica Huston

Anjelica Huston plays Eileen, a smart and cynical theater producer. While this is her first series regular role, she has done plenty of TV before. She was nominated for an Emmy for her guest-star stint on NBC’s Medium; she starred in various TV movies and miniseries like Lonesome Dove, Bastard Out of Carolina (which she also directed) and The Mists of Avalon. Huston is such a great actress, so she lends a lot of credibility and substance to this Smash cast.

 

Debra Messing

 

Debra Messing is back on NBC — the network that made her a bonafide TV star with the sitcom Will and Grace. As Julia, the musical’s lyricist, Messing is heading up the cast alongside Christian Borle, who plays Tom, the musical’s composer… who is gay. No word yet on whether the lyricist and composer are BFFs.

 

Christian Borle

Christian Borle is a theater actor most known for appearing in Broadway productions of Monty Python’s Spamalot and Legally Blonde. As stated before, he’s playing the musical’s composer to Debra Messing’s lyricist. Look for some sparks to fly because the two characters start off with a major disagreement. Julia’s somewhat against staging a Marilyn Monroe-themed musical.

Jack Davenport

Probably my favorite casting decision is the hiring of Jack Davenport. In the pilot he’s Derek, a musical choreographer trying to find his next big project. And he has his eye on the one at the heart of Smash. American audiences will recognize Davenport from last season’s FlashForward as well as the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, but to me, he will always be known as Steve Taylor, from one of my all-time favorite sitcoms, Coupling. That would be the original British version. If you haven’t seen it, you must check it out. It’s freakin’ hilarious.

Katharine McPhee

Former American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee has made the successful transition into acting. Now she’s looking to make a splash in the scripted TV world as a beautiful actress who would do anything to snag the role of Marilyn Monroe in the musical. Well, we know McPhee has the singing cred; I’m looking forward to seeing what she can do acting-wise on a weekly basis should this pilot get picked up. She’s done some movies including The House Bunny; she’s also done some guest star spots on TV in NBC’s Community (she was Pierce’s step-daughter in Season 1), CBS’ CSI: NY and Ugly Betty.

I think this is a big risk for NBC because the question begs: Will viewers care about seeing the behind-the-scenes of a Broadway musical? I’ll definitely be tuning in because I love all things musical. There’s a lot going for this pilot on paper. Will it translate to the small screen? Hopefully, NBC will save a spot for Smash on its fall schedule and we’ll be able to judge for ourselves.

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