Is Smash smushed

1 Mar

I know the title is cheesy, but I can’t get seem to get a handle on this show. I don’t know if it wants to be a show about the making of a broadway musical with song and dance numbers or a show about the personal lives of the people who are making a broadway musical with song and dance numbers.

The characters are stock, not an original in the bunch. The wide eyed (sort of) fresh off the bus girl from Iowa who is learning just how tough it can be to make it in show business. The seasoned vet, who isn’t going to let anyone stand in the way of her big moment. But not so seasoned, that she doesn’t realize the director is just using her. Speaking of , the swarmy director, complete with his casting couch. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

I will say this Megan Hilty, who plays Ivy Lynn is extremely talented, more so than Katherine McPhee, but the original songs are just horrible.  When writing a musical you want to give the audience a melody that sticks in their head, a melodic thru line that they hum or whistle. It gets them to download the soundtrack, to recommend the show to their friends.  So far I couldn’t hum, whistle or even name one of the songs we have heard for “Marilyn”.  I am really surprised that the score sucks, they have some heavy hitters working on this stuff. But I guess not everyone is a Sondheim, there’s an idea, get Sondheim or another great B’way composer to work on  the music.

Smash like Glee has covered some popular songs, this past Monday Katherine McPhee covered Adele’s “Rumor Has It”, that was unfortunate. Because Miss McPhee is no Adele.

 I think Smash would work better if it focused more on the creative process that goes into making a broadway show, and less on the personal drama.  There are plenty of shows about relationships, and getting set up on dates and having to work with the guy you had an affair with.  Show me the personal drama of not getting the staging right, of arguing over a line of dialogue or the right note of music.

And Smash what is up with changing the sexuality of one of your characters after three episodes, Ellis was so gay in the first two episodes and now all of a sudden he has a girlfriend?!

I worked in theatre for years and let me tell you that the drama of rehearsal and production meetings was always way more interesting than our personal lives.  I worked on a show where the director was fired during dress rehearsal and the lead actress quit in protest. She didn’t have an understudy, so the assistant stage manager had to learn all her lines and do the show with only three days to prepare.  Talk about drama.

Or how about the show I did where the director made the lighting designer so mad he refocused all the lights so everyone was in shadow for an entire performance. The crew had to refocus as many lights as possible during the intermission. Did I mention the director and the designer were brother in-laws.

 I will watch the rest of the season, and yes it will be back next year but not for a full season. I think NBC will give it 15 more episodes and a major overhaul.

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