Saturday, February 4, 2012
Smash on NBC: A Review
I CAN tell you that I liked what I saw when I watched the first episode of this new show about the gestation of a Broadway musical.
Debra Messing and Christian Borle are Julia and Tom, established Broadway writers, a modern day Kander and Ebb. When Tom's new assistant floats the idea of a musical about Marilyn Monroe, the notion becomes quick reality when a demo tape is leaked. All of a sudden, the New York theatre world is buzzing about the new production.
Backers, producers and even a hot director appear almost out of nowhere and the show takes off. In the first episode, you even get to see a fully produced number when a try-out turns into the real thing in the writers' minds.
The show (the TV program), shot in New York, has as its backdrop the real Times Square, terrific (though abnormally large) New York apartments, great skyline views and, best of all, the edginess of real New Yorkers.
There are also some interesting subplots. Messing's character is married with a teenage son. She and her husband are trying to adopt a new baby, to which she dedicates little time.
Larger than life Angelica Huston is the backer who's going through a messy divorce.
And, there's Katherine McPhee who plays a struggling waitress with a lot of talent. It looks like her character will be the ultimate star of the faux musical, launching her career. It's been a few years since McPhee came in second to Taylor Hicks (who?) on American Idol, but this show will also propel McPhee's career.
I liked Smash. I liked that its shot in New York, which makes it feel real. The writing is good and the music is catchy. But, at its core is the inside look at Broadway intertwined with the old-fashioned aspects of a nighttime soap.
This show will be a hit, if not a smash.