NBC's new musical drama series Smash proves that there really is no biz like show biz.
The network's advertising campaign for the series reads with the tagline: Stars aren't born, they're made. And in this case, these "stars" are made by the top-notch, award-winning creative team behind the series, with Academy Award winning director Steven Spielberg as executive producer and original music composed by Tony Award nominated pair Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. But then again, the show itself isn't lacking in star-power either. Academy Award winner Angelica Huston, Emmy nominated actress Debra Messing, Jack Davenport and American Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee are only some of the notable actors in the series. With a team like this, it is no doubt that this series is, well, going to be a smash.
The show follows two composers, Julia Houstin(Messing) and Tom Levitt(Christian Borle) who come with the idea of developing a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. When the pair enlist ambitious Broadway ensemble actress Ivy Lynn(Megan Hilty) to record a demo track for their new vision, the track goes viral and attracts the attention of a producer(Angelica Huston), and a rude but widely talented director(Jack Davenport). But what the director Derek Wills wants is an icon, not "a trooper" as he says. Not entirely convinced that Ivy is the right girl for the part, auditions are then held to find the female lead for the show...which is where Katharine McPhee steps into the picture. McPhee portrays an aspiring actress who is working as a waitress. Her freshness and innocence is what ultimately intrigues Wills, thus giving the production team not one, but two actresses to choose from for the coveted role of Marilyn Monroe.
For those weary of whether or not this series is simply a Glee rehash, fear not—because it isn't. Smash is very much realistic, with the musical numbers implemented in each episode making sense and not simply just having the actors break out into song-and-dance just 'cause they want to. Another differentiation from the FOX phenom is that Smash features original music from Hairspray and more recently Catch Me If You Can composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who dish out two catchy showtunes in the pilot episode.
Smash is a series that chronicles the backstage drama and the road to creating a Broadway show, and while it may seem like a series that only theatre gurus would enjoy, it isn't. As actress Megan Hilty brilliantly states, "I liked ER, but that doesn't mean that I wanted to become a doctor." You may not have any pre-existing theatre knowledge, but that does not mean that Smash won't be your cup of tea. The series is filled with your dose of television breakups, hookups and family dilemmas, with as much and if not more delicious storylines than your favorite primetime soaps.
The pilot of Smash is currently available for free for streaming on the NBC website, as well as for download on iTunes and Amazon for those of you who cannot wait. But for those of you who can, the series debuts February 6th, after the second season premiere of The Voice.
"Smash" airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.
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