Look, we’re not going to beat around the bush or pretend to have any pretenses: the premiere of Smash cannot come soon enough for us. And that is coming from someone who has actually already seen the pilot. It’s so good, we will watch it again when it airs. And we will watch it live. As NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt explained to critics at TCA today, if you give the audience a “first taste,” so to speak, they will get hooked and come back for much more. So they are unrolling the pilot of Smash three weeks, streaming on all of their online partners, including Comcast XFinityTV, iTunes, Hulu, and more. Then when the show starts airing on the network in February, it will do so consecutively, the biggest perk to having a mid-season start we can think of.
“In this day and age, you need four or five shows to turn things around,” Greenblatt explained. “Smash is very important to us, but it’s not make or break.”
It might be make or break for fans, though. It’s not “just” a musical. Yes, the show will feature both original songs and covers– from big numbers fitting a Broadway stage, as well as more intimate performances singing to one’s self or in an audition room. But at the core it’s about the drive and passion one must have to pursue a career in the arts– a career that can take forever to get started and which you will fight to hold onto until the day you retire. And we’re just going to say it before you read our full, official, and professional review: Smash is glee for smart people. So what can you expect from the series? We have compiled the bullet-points and quotes from today’s Smash panel in Los Angeles.
- Critic points out #Smash burns through a lot of plot in first 2 episodes. That was a strategic decision says Theresa Rebeck. [Editor’s Note: A lot of plot is not a bad thing, nor should it scare potential fans away. A lot of plot right up front means the show won’t drag out the obvious story points (like actually casting Marilyn– and yes, we find out who gets the part at the end of the second episode). Instead, it will allow the show to focus on the more dramatic character moments and relationships, as well as the development of the actual musical.]
- Scott Wittman says it takes ” a lifetime in four days” to write a song for #Smash
- David Marshall Grant said that it’s hard to “pin down” the timeframe of the first two episodes.
- #Smash’s first season will take Marilyn the musical to an out of town try-out. Second season takes her to Broadway.
- The goal for #Smash is to just make an amazing TV show right now, not focus on any actual Broadway tie in.
- .@MeganHilty says when she’s been backstage on Broadway she always says “There should be a camera back here!”
- Christian Borle echoes Bob Greenblatt’s sentiment that since they’re mid-season, they’ve been able to focus on great work they’re proud of.
- Theresa Rebeck says NBC wants great storytelling and trusts those behind #Smash to deliver that.
- Contemporary songs from #Smash should be released day-of airing.
- Why this show for Anjelica Huston? It’s the best of the best, and she’d “be a fool” not to participate.
- Neil Meron feels that “feature film musicals” have allowed #Smash to finally break through.
- Theresa Rebeck wasn’t involved when #Smash was originally announced between Spielberg and Greenblatt for SHO. She thought “good for them.” Rebeck just wanted the type of show to get made. But when she got involved, she talked with Marc and Scott about what it would be. “A lot of crazy ideas” were pitched around, said Rebeck. She doesnt know if she can write a great Marilyn musical but she can write great TV about people making a Marilyn musical.
- “The more the merrier,” Rebeck on finding two girls to compete to play Marilyn. Hard enough to find one, no?
- Craig Zadan equates Rebeck to Aaron Sorkin w/#WestWing. “Theresa has the ability to make it authentic.”
- One of the things most exciting for Messing was the “proud mother” who wants the home life & balance, too. “Nothing is simple.”
- Messing is also grateful that NBC has created a home again for her– one that she wants to go to everyday.
- Craig Zadan says Ryan Murphy & #Glee broke a great barrier…but #Smash is not like glee. They’re grateful for the door opened.
- Katharine says stereotypes of waitressing, casting couches, etc are there for a reason. “It happens…It’s not fair but it’s the business. I have not experienced backstabbing but maybe Ms. Hilty has. “That’s also going to be in the memoirs” – @meganhilty
- Live performers give so much of themselves& there’s so much at stake, says @meganhilty. “It naturally sets the tone…for high drama.”
- Marilyn’s story is heartbreaking, dramatic, full of love, which is why @meganhilty thinks it’s the perfect story for #Smash.
- Theresa Rebeck says once @katharinemcphee & @meganhilty joined #Smash it was “organic” to show their individ. Marilyn characteristics. By the end of the pilot, Rebeck says “on the set there were actually Team Ivy and Team Karen.” Rebeck didn’t know at that point who’d get it.
- “That’s acting” – Jack Davenport answers a critic who says his character in #Smash is not as well-meaning as previous roles. “I had to plead my case. No one’s asked me to be sociopathic for ages & I’m thrilled to be doing it now.”
- Jack wanted #Smash immediately after reading the pilot script. “I get to be kind of evil, and I love it…I based [him] on an amalgam of many [Broadway directors]…or I’d be in court.”
- Before they settled on Marilyn, Theresa Rebeck spills they toyed with the ideas of Victorian novels adapted.
- #Smash scripts are getting tweaked based on what the actors bring. Also, the Marilyn that emerges early may not be who ends up as Marilyn.
Anyone care to start speculating already on how this TV musical will turn out? Sound off in the comments below!
Smash premieres on NBC on February 6th at 10pm.
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