While I'm still miffed that NBC won't say exactly when Community is coming back to finish it's third season, (just give us a date already!) I'm excited about one new show that will make it's TV debut on Monday, Smash. Executive produced by Steven Spielberg, it follows the creation of a new Broadway musical based on the life of one of Hollywood's iconic actresses.
In the show Julia Houston (Debra Messing) and Tom Levitt (Christian Borle) on the suggestion of his personal assistant, decided to write a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. With director Derek Willis (Jack Davenport) and producer Eileen Rand (Angelica Houston) on board, they start the audition process on finding the right actress to embody Marilyn on the Great White Way. The two contenders for the role are Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty), the actress that wants to break out of the chorus line and was the shoo in for the part (she's Julia and Tom's first choice for the role), until Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee) an transplant from Iowa who has yet to make it to the Broadway stage, gives a great audition and puts her in the running.
Of course there are comparisons to Glee because it's a musical TV show. But that's where it stops. Glee may be about the trials and tribulations of being a teenager in the midwest, it's small potatoes to developing a hit Broadway musicals. Much like movies and TV shows, it's not cheap to produce a show, new or revival. So you want to make sure that everything is perfect, from the book and lyrics to the choreography and casting. For every The Phantom of the Opera, which is currently the longest running show on Broadway, there's a Carrie. Yes the one based of the Stephen King book. It closed after only 5 performances in 1988. I've never been behind the scenes on how Broadway shows are developed (although that would be really cool to experience), so there's probably going to be more heightened dramatics in the show. But even with that, I enjoyed the first episode. It moved at a brisk pace, (in a way reflecting the life in New York City), the writing and acting was good and I enjoyed the musical numbers. The baseball number with Megan Hilty was my favorite and for me she's going to be the break-out star of the show. Also in art imitating life, she was just cast as Lorelei in this springs Encores! revival of the 1949 musical Gentleman Prefer Blondes, a role Monroe played in the 1953 movie adaptation.
Right now you can watch the first episode on Hulu, YouTube and iTunes before it airs on Monday. I've already watched it twice and I'll probably watch it on Monday too. If you watched it, will you continue to watch future episodes?