Uh oh! Debra Messing’s character “hates everyone who writes theater blogs” on “Smash,” a new NBC series about the creation of a Broadway musical. Here at theater-words, though, we’ve decided not to take that personally—after all, it’s none too often that our fabulous invalid hits network primetime, and with a parade of New York stage talent to boot. So: anti-blog sentiment and all, we loved the show.
But what about the world beyond Times Square? What will it make of “Smash” and Broadway? To find out, I recently watched the pilot (a free download on iTunes) with a theatrically disinclined friend. What was the reaction? Here’s what I found on the outside…
Q: Did you enjoy “Smash?”
A: Well, at first I thought it was going to be another “Will & Grace” rehash because the first scene is Grace [Debra Messing] in the kitchen with a Will look-alike [Christian Borle]. But then that sort of shifted when they were followed by a fierce Anjelica Huston and some catchy tunes!
Q: Catchy tunes?
A: Yes, the most memorable part of the show was the last song. To be honest, I was a little bored with the understory, namely the work that goes into a Broadway show.
Q: Um, you do know that that’s the entire premise of the show, right?
A: Yes, but you really just want to get to that final song with the passion and the glamour and the culmination!
Q: Right. So in the show two women are vying for a big Broadway role. There’s a chorus veteran and a newbie—
A: Yes, this voluptuous sexy blonde woman [Megan Hilty] and a frumpy no-name [Katharine McPhee].
Q: Katharine McPhee was a runner up on “American Idol.”
A: Well she doesn’t look like it!
Q: So she’s not going to win?
A: Obviously she’s going to win because she’s the underdog. You don’t want her to win, but she’s going to.
Q: What do you mean you don’t want her to win?
A: Well, she’s cast on the show to look like a trainwreck! Her parents make fun of her, she’s struggling to make it as a waitress… though, when she meets with the director at his apartment, she does show her true colors and reveal that she has some talent behind all those sad layers.
Q: You really don’t like her outfits, do you?
A:She was clearly shopping at the Salvation Army in Williamsburg.
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