Tag Archives: Broadway theatre

Smash “BOMB shell”

15 May

The aptly titled “Bombshell” was Smash‘s season finale.  My big question last night, as it has been all season is, why does everyone think Karen (Katherine McPhee) is soooo talented, when they clearly have a talented Broadway vet waiting right there to take over the role she was born to play. I didn’t think it was possible for a show to jump the shark in 15 episodes or less, but Smash has done it. Kudos it will be your greatest achievement.

Broadway is a business like any other business with millions of dollars at stake, as Eileen reminded us every week this season. There is no way a real producer would risk their money on a hack.  I do not understand why the creators/writers think there is drama in the whole “cinderella story”, there isn’t, its boring and watching Derek be led around my his little director is a clche.  Although I have seen many an actor or actress get and keep roles because the director wanted to bed them, it would have been nice if the show rose above the fray, Jack Davenport is another actor I hope gets a better gig, he is wasted here.

As the episode opens Derek decides Karen will take over the role of Marilyn for Rebecca Duval, basically they have a day to teach her all the blocking, shorten the costumes etc etc. Ok, wasn’t Karen Rebecca’s understudy, shouldn’t she know all this stuff already and shouldn’t wardrobe have her costumes ready to go for exactly this type of scenario.  Really Show, Really?

Anyhow, in one of the rare moments I actually liked Ellis this season, he tells Eileen that Karen sucks and what a bad idea this is, he also lets her know he slipped Becky the nuts. Eileen fires him. I was routing for this all season, and now that he is fired I am not sure I want him gone. But I guess this sets us up for the lawsuit storyline for next season, remember Marilyn was his idea.

Tom and Julia are frantically working on the new closing number, because the original ending, Marilyn’s suicide was such a crowd pleaser. Halfway thru rehearsal Karen loses it and runs off stage, Derek follows her and gives her a pep talk and offers his magic penis to help make her feel better.   Let’s see, after he slept with Ivy she crashed and burned on pills and Becky nearly died from peanuts, stay away Karen that penis is cursed.

Michael Swift hits on Julia, his wife has left him and moved to Seattle, she rebuffs and then goes to throw up. Literally she throws up which means she is preggers. Smash has now officially become a soap opera, the whole whose the daddy storyline is so played out and will be again next season.

The show continues destroying the Ivy character, god I hope Megan Hilty gets off this show she is too good for this crapfest. In retaliation for Karen getting Marilyn, she tells Karen she slept with Dev. 

finally the show goes on, Karen is awesome ( shows perspective not mine) earning applause mid-song during the new closing number.  Meanwhile Ivy is about to swallow a handful of pills.

Pathetic finale. I will tune in next year, I want to see if they have learned their lessons and if a new show runner EP will make that big of difference. But we will have to wait, Smash isn’t back until winter 2013.

What about you, are you coming back? What did you think of the finale? Are you done having the show tell you how awesome Karen is and crapping all over Ivy?

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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.

Smash NBC is Broadway Bound

29 Dec

First of all I am sure there will be people who will compare Smash premiering Monday February 6th at 10pm on NBC to Glee, as far as I can tell they are both on TV and both have musical numbers and that is where the similarities end.

Smash follows the drama that goes into launching a Broadway musical. It stars Debra Messing and Christian Borle as songwriting partners who are developing a musical based on Marilyn MonroeAnjelica Houston is the veteran broadway producer, Jack Davenport is the director and no story about the making of a broadway musical would be complete without dueling actresses vying for the lead. Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty will be duking it out, one is a seasoned professional the other is still trying to get her big break.

The advanced word from those who have seen the screeners say the pilot is tight. It quickly sets up the premise and delivers some outstanding musical numbers along with a big cliffhanger. There is also a sub plot involving Messing and her husband played by Brian D’Arcy James trying to adopt a baby, which plays out with a twist by the second episode.

Did I mention Stephen Spielberg is the executive producer.  I am not really sure how you can get more than one season out of the premise. Maybe a new musical with a new cast every year.

Smash has stiff competition on Monday’s at 10, it’s up against Castle and Hawaii 5-0, both ratings champs.  I predict Smash will do well in the ratings, but it won’t stay on Monday’s at 10 for its entire run. NBC will realize the demo they want watches from 8-9 or 9 to 10.

Here is the trailer – Watch it – Then head to the comments, are you in or out?

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