Butz, who won the Best Actor Tony Award for Catch Me If You Can, guest stars on a future episode of the series created by Theresa Rebeck (Seminar, Mauritius). He plays St. Peter in a hit Broadway musical called Heaven On Earth. The episode was in production the week of Jan. 16 and included a shoot on Staten Island.
Butz won his most recent Best Actor Tony in spring 2011 for singing the Catch Me If You Can songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who also pen the original music and lyrics for “Smash,” about the making of a new musical about Marilyn Monroe. (Shaiman and Wittman are also executive producers.) Butz won his first Best Actor Tony for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Already announced to make guest appearances in the future are two-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters (Follies, Annie Get Your Gun, Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods) and pop and theatre star Nick Jonas (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying).Peters will play Leigh Conroy, mother of Ivy (played by Megan Hilty). Ivy, a 10-year veteran of Broadway choruses, is hoping to win the role of Marilyn Monroe in the new musical being written by Tom (Christian Borle) and Julia (Debra Messing). (Tom and Julia’s most recent hit is the aforementioned Heaven on Earth.)
New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel will also surface in the show. Making cameos in the second episode are producer Jordan Roth, president of Jujamcyn Theaters, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Tom Kitt (Next to Normal).
If the first two episodes are any indication, a number of inside-Broadway mentions will punctuate the series in a way that won’t frustrate the lay person. For example, there’s a reference to a “Bernie,” who is obviously theatrical casting director Bernard Telsey, whose Telsey + Company also works on “Smash”; and actor-turned-agent Joe Machota of CAA gets a shout out.
The capacious bar and dining room of theatre-district resaturant Bond 45, on 45th Street, is on handsome display in episode two.
The series regulars include Katharine McPhee (“American Idol”) as Karen, an aspiring actress competing with Ivy; Oscar winner Anjelica Huston (“Prizzi’s Honor”) as Eileen, a producer financially shaken by divorce; Jack Davenport (“Pirates of the Caribbean” and Britain’s “Coupling”) as a director-choreographer, Derek, who doesn’t know boundaries; Tony Award nominee Brian d’Arcy James (Shrek The Musical, Time Stands Still) as Frank, the schoolteacher husband of Julia; Jaime Cepero as Ellis, Tom’s stage-struck assistant; and Raza Jaffrey as Karen’s boyfriend, Dev, who works in the mayor’s office.
Playwright Rebeck (The Scene, The Understudy) penned the pilot (and other episodes) and is the show’s creator. Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot) directed the pilot and other episodes.
As reported, the pilot was released as a free download on digital services, including iTunes, starting Jan. 16 prior to the Feb. 6 launch on NBC. Two Shaiman-Wittman songs are also available for purchase as downloads.
Craig Zadan & Neil Meron (“Chicago,” “Hairspray,” Promises, Promises and Broadway’s current How to Succeed) are among the series producers.
After an introduction from entertainment president Robert Greenblatt, the massive cast and creatives for NBC’s musical drama Smash — totaling 16 — crowded the stage, touching on how the series will be an accurate representation of a Broadway production, how Glee set the stage for musicals on TV as well as the plans for what could happen should the series see a second season.
Here are 10 things to expect from Smash.
1. Grand plan. Creator/executive producer Theresa Rebeck noted that the grand plan for Season 1 is to get the play with in the show — about the life of Marilyn Monroe — up and running to an out-of-town tryout and its first public presentation. “The second season, if we’re lucky enough to get one, would be Marilyn comes to Broadway and how it fares in New York,” she told reporters. Asked if there could be a new play that begins being workshopped should the series earn a renewal, Greenblatt later told reporters that it’s unclear at this point. “The Season 2 plan is Marilyn goes to Broadway and after that we’ll decide if a new show should emerge,” he said. Added Shaiman: “The show itself is telling us; it’s not like we don’t think ahead. What we thought nine months ago is changing week to week as the actors bring what they bring.”
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It’s no secret that things have been tricky lately for the Peacock Network. Some of its returning shows have been struggling in the ratings and none of its new fall offerings have been breakout hits.
That may be about to change: NBC debuts ‘Smash’ Feb. 6, and many critics who’ve seen it (including me) think it’s one of the strongest new shows of the season. Below, Aol TV has an exclusive first look at the ‘Smash’ key art, which features former ‘American Idol’ contestant Katharine McPhee atop a pile of scheming Broadway strivers.
You’re probably wondering if ‘Smash’ is merely a ‘Glee’ ripoff set on Broadway. Of course, it makes sense for ‘Glee’ to come up when discussing ‘Smash,’ but the latter show is different (and possibly better) in several respects.
First, the NBC show isn’t set in a high school — it takes place in the high-stakes world of Broadway musicals — and ‘Smash’ will feature some original songs. Tonally, ‘Smash’ feels more realistic and dramatic than the satiric (and often scattershot) ‘Glee,’ though the NBC show has a sly sense of humor and a promising sense of momentum.
McPhee plays one of two actresses struggling to move their careers into high gear, and Christian Borle and Debra Messing of ‘Will and Grace’ play a songwriting duo who begin working on a musical about Marilyn Monroe. Though ‘Smash’ will no doubt segue into various subplots along the way, the creation of that musical will form the spine of the first season.
Also participating in the delicious backstage cattiness are Anjelica Huston, who plays a high-powered producer, and Jack Davenport, who plays an amoral and ambitious director. I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for the versatile Brit Davenport to be cast in the right American project; this could well be it.
All in all, the ‘Smash’ pilot provides all of these skilled performers ample opportunities to shine, and if the show keeps up the quality level of that first hour, we could well be in for a treat. The show certainly has a lot of experienced talent behind the scenes: Award-wining playwright and screenwriter Theresa Rebeck wrote the pilot, and veteran TV and theater producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (‘Chicago,’ ‘Hairspray’) are executive producers, as are songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (‘Hairspray’).
Will it all add up to a ‘Smash’ for NBC? Who knows. There will probably be a lot of butterflies for all involved right up until opening night.
Broadway vet Will Chase (Rent, Billy Elliot) will extend his previously reported recurring stint on the forthcoming NBC series Smash for five additional episodes, with an offer to become a series regular should the Broadway-centric show be picked up for a second season.
“I’m completely freaking happy,” Chase told Broadway.com of the news, while taking a break from filming the series. “I knew all along it was going to be a great arc, but after only filming a few episodes, finding out that I was going to be a more integral part of the show this season and be made a regular for season two was overwhelming. I’m absolutely thrilled!”
Chase plays Michael Swift, a Broadway star who is hired to play Joe DiMaggio in the workshop of a new musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe from composers Julia Houston (Debra Messing) and Tom Levitt (Christian Borle). Swift is also the father of a three year-old with his wife, who will be played by fellow Broadway veteran Michelle Federer. The couple might not be in a state of marital bliss, however, as Chase teases, “You can expect Michael to stir the pot a bit as he might become a love interest for one of the other main characters, but I don’t want to give away any secrets!”
Chase, who appeared in the pilot of TV’s Pan Am earlier this fall, is enjoying bringing his Broadway background to a TV project. “The most exciting part has to be filming the musical sequences,” he said, “having the marriage of both mediums. When we nail it, it’s the best feeling. It’s criminal how much fun we’re having and to sit around and watch the likes of Anjelica Huston [who plays a hotshot producer] is a great day at work!”
Smash’s pilot features a script by playwright Theresa Rebeck (Seminar), and Chase says the writing team has been “diligent and honest about this world, not only the excitement and turmoil of creating a Broadway show, but how that affects the relationships of the main characters, all the while telling the story with music, when the moment merits it.”
Smash begins its run on February 6, 2012. Along with Chase, the show will also feature appearances from Broadway performers including Megan Hilty, Bernadette Peters, Wesley Taylor, Savannah Wise, Brian d’Arcy James and Nick Jonas.
Regulars know I rarely get excited about network television fare, but NBC’s new drama ‘Smash’ is a delicious slice of the bright lights of Broadway.
Add to that a kickass female cast that sets the tone for great dialogue, scenes and pacing, as Tony Award-nominee Christian Borle and Emmy Award-winner Debra Messing are a composing team that has a tiger by the tail in the name of ‘Marilyn,’ a new musical with all the right songs, but no star.
Enter the radiant Katharine McPhee (American Idol) as the struggling ingénue who is pit against the obvious choice, played by Megan Hilty. McPhee is brilliant in this part.
Then a dollop of regal beauty Anjelica Huston makes this effort crackle, cast as the show’s producer along with her hand-picked (and deeply unliked) director, played just right by Jack Davenport.
(Read More @ monstersandcritics.com)
At NBC’s upfront Monday at the Hilton in Midtown, the big reveal wasn’t so much a two-song appearance by Christina Aguilera and Cee-Lo Green, judges on the network’s hit “The Voice,” or Donald Trump’s announcement that he wouldn’t be running for president. Rather, it was a first look at the much buzzed about program “Smash,” about the creation of a Broadway show, which will be a midseason replacement. The show involves Steven Spielberg as a producer and stars Anjelica Huston as a theater producer and Debra Messing as one-half of a musical-developing duo.
Building the excitement, Robert Greenblatt, the NBC Entertainment chairman, pretty much waited until the final moments of a two hour plus presentation for a glimpse of the drama. As the video began to play, the green room where talent including Piers Morgan, Christina Applegate (NBC’s new “Up All Night,” about a couple wrestling with a new baby) and Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”) had previously been chatting with agents and executives, turned quiet for the first time that morning.
Some things we learned about “Smash”: The musical-within-the-musical is about Marilyn Monroe. The art for the show right now, which features the main characters on stage with a bunch of curtain ropes, is evocative of the way HBO sells its series while the logo art is reminiscent of the film “Burlesque,” starring Ms. Aguilera and Cher. And the network heralded one of the show’s stars as “Introducing Katharine McPhee,” who, in yet another nod to Ms. Aguilera, sings a soulful version of her hit song “Beautiful” in an audtion scene.
Ms. McPhee hardly needs an introduction: she was the runner-up on “American Idol” in 2002 and appeared opposite Anna Faris in the comedy “The House Bunny.” But, welcome to her next act.
(via the wall street journal)
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"Let Me Be Your Star"
(Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty)