Smash Brings Down the House
- Tuesday, February 28, 2012
It goes without saying that if you haven't seen NBC's newest headlining show, Smash, you have at least seen the commercials for it. The broadcasting giant has spared no expense in promoting the musical drama, and Smash has certainly given them plenty to work with.
Conceived by Steven Spielberg, and starring winners and nominees of Oscar, Emmy and Tony awards, as well as an American Idol finalist, Smash has no lacking of talent. So the question now is "does the fledgling show actually live up to the enormous expectations?" Surprisingly, the answer is "yes."
Smash is the story of a Broadway musical, or more accurately, the making of a Broadway musical. To the uncommon theater patron this may not sound all that complicated, but Smash starts off by taking viewers behind the curtain and revealing to the blood, sweat, and broken hearts that go into the creation of a single musical.
We are introduced first to Karen Cartwright (Idol runner-up Katharine McPhee), a struggling actress who works part-time as a waitress while living with her boyfriend Dev (Raza Jaffrey). Following close on Karen's ruby-red heels is Ivy Lynn (Broadway star Megan Hilty) a veteran actress who has yet to get her big break. Both girls see their chance at stardom in an upcoming musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe, but only one of them can get the part.
The rest of the cast, all somehow connected to the play, quickly fall into place. There's the lyricists, Julia (Debra Messing) and her partner Tom (Broadway veteran Christian Borle), Tom's scheming assistant Ellis (Jaime Cepero), the brilliant but seedy director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport), tenacious producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston), and a cavalcade of supporting cast that add to the drama. Needless to say, the actors play their parts to perfection. Each of them has their own plotline and deal with their own obstacles, an impressive feat for so large a cast, but one the show handles with incredible grace. Where Smash really hits it big though, is with its music.
For a long time Glee has been the dominate voice on TV music, but one episode of Smash will have the teen dramady kicked back to the choir room. McPhee's prowess has only increased since her time on Idol, and Hilty's voice is just as wonderful. With a brilliant mix of modern and original music, fans of the show will be breaking the bake on their iTunes accounts. Overall, If you like drama, music, and good acting, Smash will have you hooked with one episode. Be warned however, Smash is not for the faint of heart.
Behind the lights and the fame, Broadway can be savagely cutthroat and dangerously short on morals. For instance, chastity and monogamy are two virtues nonexistent in the world of Smash. Characters will use sex to their advantage if they can, and they frequently do. As Julia so eloquently puts it, "In shows people sleep together, it just happens." She should know, as she's courting an affair with the musical's male lead, despite the fact that both of them have spouses and children.
Other vices, lying and back-stabbing in particular, make guest appearances as the characters chase their dreams. As unsavory as it can be to watch, Smash is also a realistic depiction in this day and age of ambitious people willing to do whatever it takes to succeed in entertainment. In the end, Smash has plenty of talent, a great story and even better music. So if you're willing to watch, take a program and have a seat. The show is about to begin.
*This article first published 2/28/2012
**Watch Smash Mondays on NBC
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