By: Josh Briggs
Over the last two years, it seems that musicals and show choir have taken over the country with full force due to the overwhelming popularity of Fox’s hit show “Glee.” NBC jumped on this new opportunity for a musical TV show and created “Smash.” The show centers around the making of a musical about Marilyn Monroe, specifically the fight for the lead role between Broadway veteran Ivy Lynn (Broadway veteran Megan Hilty) and underdog country girl Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee).
“Smash” focuses on the real relationships between each of the main characters and more on the interactions than boring the audiences with excessive singing.
Half of the musical numbers in the show are also original songs written specifically for the show, giving it an edge and making it far more entertaining.
No one breaks out singing randomly either. All characters sing within the rehearsals or on stage so there will be no High School Musical-esque songs about feelings. The show provides a glimpse into the real world of musical theatre and not the frilly mimic that the rest of the media gives the profession.
Beyond the solid story line, the show offers an all-star cast. Debra Messing plays Julia Houston, the lovable and witty scriptwriter of the show who is desperately trying to balance her work and personal life. Other major characters include the “evil” director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport), the artistic and money-desperate producer (Anjelica Huston), and Julia’s partner-in-crime, songwriter Tom Levitt (Christian Borle).
Hilty’s portrayal as Ivy Lynn and impressions of Marilyn are particularly striking and accurate. It is quite obvious that she is fully dedicated to the show and her prior experience on Broadway is evident both in her supreme singing voice and in her mastery over her desperate character.
With the combination of fantastic songs, an amazing cast, and intense relationships, “Smash” finds itself as one of the best shows of this new spring season.