You couldn’t pick two unlikelier competitiors: Katharine McPhee, the sweet American Idol runner-up known for her covers of “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” and “Over the Rainbow,” and Megan Hilty, the feisty Glinda of Wicked and the Dolly Parton proxy in 9 to 5: The Musical. But NBC’s new, critically praised musical series Smash pits the two belters against one another in a surprisingly fabulous grudge match to play Marilyn Monroe in a new Broadway musical. Though she’s been chronicled time and again in all imaginable forums for melodrama, Marilyn is still a compelling muse — an opportunity for an actress to be comely, sad, and slyly intelligent. On Smash, McPhee and Hilty vie for the blessing of casting vets (played by Debra Messing and a nefarious Jack Davenport) and sometimes go the distance.
We caught up with McPhee and Hilty to discuss their splashy series, relating to success-hungry characters, and the undiscovered qualities of the most talked-about bombshell of all time. Our first interview is with McPhee; Hilty follows after the break.
Interviews under the read more!
In almost every ad for Smash, NBC “introduces” viewers to Katharine McPhee. But what about the man fortunate enough to be holding the hand of this actress on the new musical-based drama?
We’re excited to introduce you here to Raza Jaffrey, who portrays Dev Sundaram on Smash, the serious boyfriend of McPhee’s Karen Cartwright.
“They’re in a caring, charming relationship,” Jaffrey told me of Dev and Karen. “He’s behind her all the way.”
But will things remain that stable? Not exactly, the actor teases, but the relationship troubles that befall Dev and Karen might not be your typical television fare. Don’t expect any cheating or even any jealousy.
“Bigger things are in store, but not obvious stuff that viewers might expect,” Jaffrey said. “Issues will come up that involve both Karen’s career and mine.”
Dev works in the Mayor’s office when we meet him on the premiere, but he hinted that his character’s future might not be in New York.
After gushing over his co-star – at various times, Jaffrey referred to McPhee as “extraordinary,” a “pleasure” and a “naturally charming actress” – the actor acknowledged the major publicity push NBC is giving Smash, but said it doesn’t add any pressure to his performance.
“It’s just the most exciting thing,” he says. “You really feel supported by the network, looked after. You only need to walk across the street [in Times Square] or turn on the TV to see how much NBC is behind it. It’s impossible not to be aware of.”
Examiner.com caught up with ‘Smash’ Star Brian d’Arcy James recently at the New York Premiere of ‘Red Tails.’ Check out what he had to say about working on one of the most anticipated new shows of 2012:
Q: Do you sing in the show?
Brian d’Arcy James: Everybody is singing in it in some way. Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee, who people might remember from ‘American Idol’ fame, they’re doing the bulk of it. They play the actors who are vying for the lead role in a Marilyn Monroe musical, so they really get to sing, but everyone that they cast in the show–whether they are actors in the show within the show or not–are capable of singing so I fully expect everyone to sing at some point.
Q: How did you get involved with the project?
Brian d’Arcy James: Same old way actors get involved in projects. They audition for these things and I was lucky enough to get tapped on the shoulder to do it!
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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Ever wonder what goes on backstage at a Broadway show? Well, NBC’s new drama Smashis pulling back the curtain.
The series stars Katharine McPhee as a struggling actress desperate for her chance in the spotlight.
“I could just so relate to this girl,” says the American Idol alum, 27. “All the doors shut in my face. She’s just like, ‘Let me show you what I can do.’ ”
In the storyline, McPhee’s character is up for the role of Marilyn Monroe in a new musical. Her competition? Megan Hilty, who says her own character will “do just about anything to get what she wants.”
While the two actresses battle for center stage, there’s plenty of drama going on backstage, as well.
“The story is told through the eyes of the writers, producer, director, choreographer,” says Will & Grace favorite Debra Messing, who plays a Broadway songwriter.
Smash, which also stars Anjelica Huston and Jack Davenport, premieres Monday, Feb. 6, at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.
On Sunday, November 6, stage and screen producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron were honored at the Eighth Annual New York Musical Theatre Festival (NYMF) Gala by some of their most famed stars including Daniel Radcliffe – of the pair’s hit revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying – and the company of the upcoming NBC series Smash, including Debra Messing, Angelica Houston, Megan Hilty, Christian Borle, Jack Davenport, Raza Jaffrey, Michael Mayer, Theresa Rebeck and more.
(via broadway world)
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"Let Me Be Your Star"
(Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty)