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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

NBC expands musicals with smashing new series

By Kelli Henderson/entertainment editor

SMASH is not only a smash but a fun, inviting show that will keep viewers coming back for more.

NBC’s new drama SMASH weaves the tale of Broadway and all the laughter and emotion the theater brings with it. The successful songwriting team of Tom (Christian Borle) and Julia (Debra Messing) decide to start writing a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. With a determined producer (Anjelica Huston) and an arrogant director (Jack Davenport) behind them, the team looks to start Marilyn: The Musical.

With every theater production comes competition. Small-town Iowa girl Karen (Katharine McPhee) with natural talent and the flirtatious-chorus girl Ivy (Megan Hilty) both try to woo the producers for the spotlight.

Although the show is described as a musical drama, it doesn’t have the musical tendencies as, say, Glee. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Executive producer Craig Zadan said in a Playbill interview that Glee is the show that brought musicals to television the right way.

Glee has to get a lot of credit because if it wasn’t for Glee, it wouldn’t have broken that ground. They opened the door for us,” he said. “The great thing is we’re not copying Glee. We’re not like Glee, but we’re grateful to Glee for giving us the opportunity to do our show.”

The writers put together a smooth combination of drama and musical numbers. Even though the show isn’t a full-fledged musical, producers say each episode will have at least one original song and remakes of classics. Those who do not naturally desire to go to the theater would probably enjoy watching another program.

What was surprisingly enjoyable was the performance of McPhee, who proves she is no longer the girl belting her way through American Idol. She can actually act. She is a natural at playing the underdog. Though some may not be McPhee fans, her character is a passionate and kind person one can’t help but root for.

Behind the all-star cast are the all-star producers, playwrights and songwriters for the show, including executive producer Steven Spielberg.

Also, producers Zadan and Neil Meron, who also produced the musicals Chicago and Hairspray, are part of the production. The co-lyricists for the show are Tony- and Grammy Award-winner Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who wrote for Hairspray and Catch Me if You Can.

Having successful producers, songwriters and screenwriters who have been in the Broadway business lets the audiences see the true colors of the theater on- and off-stage.

Hilty and McPhee said the executive producers are keeping the drama as real as it can get. The drama that goes on backstage is more entertaining than what audiences pay to see, McPhee said.

SMASH is enjoyable because it shows not only the drama on stage but also their home lives. The plot includes the inside look into the producers’ and actors’ lives. It shows that even though Broadway stars look glamorous on stage or in pictures, one never knows when that ear-to-ear smile is a facade.

The show airs at 9 p.m. Mondays starting Feb. 6.

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