“Smash” is a Hit

debramessing (2).jpgBy Elah Davidson–2/6/2012
“Smash” brings big time Broadway to the small screen. The creative team of NBC’s hopeful hit has injected the grandeur of sweeping musicals and large numbered choreography into the intimacy of television.
“Smash” so far falls short of showing the nitty-gritty behind the scenes of a hit Broadway musical. This is mainly owed to its home on NBC. The show has potential for bitter feuds, backstabbing, and vicious cat fights, but it remains mainstream-friendly. However, this allows the show to be a unique beam of sunlight in an otherwise dreary 10 pm time slot
Debra Messing is a hit Broadway musical writer, who has promised her husband to take a year off work to focus on adopting a baby. The glitch in the march toward domestic bliss is Messing’s fascination with the myth and meaning of iconic Marilyn Monroe. She sees her as “saint-like” and wants to make a musical about her life. Soon enough, Julia (Messing) and her co-writer Tom (played by real life Broadway stage vet Christian Brole) are throwing around ideas for potential musical numbers. “Joe Dimaggio! There could be a baseball number!” It’s just too exciting to pass up.
Soon the idea catches wind, and the production begins to fly. Anjelica Huston gives “Smash” a boost with her endearing take on Eileen Rand, a big-time producer in the middle of a nasty divorce. She lends her smile, money, know-how and connections to get “Marilyn: The Musical” onto the stage. Rand brings in the talented and egotistical British director Derek Willis (Jack Davenport) to choreograph the “baseball number.” All the pieces quickly align and the ensemble finds its way to casting calls.
That brings up the ultimate question: who will play Marilyn? Will it be the Broadway trained Ivy (Wicked’s Megan Hilty_ or Karen (American Idol’s Katherine McPhee)? Both women are undeniably talented and could play the part magnificently. Ivy is the obvious choice. She’s a seasoned ensemblist with singing chops as big as determination and curvy body that wouldn’t be allowed anywhere else on television.
Karen is a small town girl with a bambi-eyed expression that lends a new take on the blonde bombshell.
“Smash” draws an unidentifiable line between theater and television. Just remember to silence your cell phones.