The first time the promo for the new show Smash came on, the effect was just, ‘Eh, whatever.’ Did it look amazing? No. Not like, Ooh, gotta watch that! And then you see the promo a billion times – on TV, in cabs, on billboards. Eventually, it’s, ‘Well, sure I’ll watch that. It must be somewhat good if they're promoting it to death.' If they’re confident enough to shove it down our throats to this extent how bad can it be? If Anjelica Huston has deemed this project worthy of her presence, it could be worth watching. And, after all, it was produced by Steven Spielberg.'
With the success of Glee, it was only a matter of time when someone would try to make a 'Glee For Adults,' and that is what Spielberg set out to do and exactly what this is. Well, was it fantastic? No. What can be learned from this is to listen to your gut. The initial effect and reaction to it needn’t be second guessed. The promos made it seem like Katharine McPhee was the star of the show, and while she is one of the stars, the stories intertwine and highlight Megan Hilty, Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston.
Julia (Messing) is a Broadway show producer who, though she’s promised her husband she will take time off in order to focus on them trying to adopt a baby, has been totally inspired by the thought of producing a new musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe with her producing partner, Tom (Christian Borle). Eileen (Huston) is an experienced producer who is excited about the project as well and eager to get it of the ground. Ivy (Hilty) and Karen (McPhee) are two young wannabe Broadway stars competing for the role of Marilyn. And that’s where the show could have been so, so much better.
Ivy and Karen are both supposed to be fantastic. Ivy is the more experienced performer of the two, with years of experience in shows as part of an ensemble, yet has never felt the heat of the spotlight. She also looks more like Marilyn – she’s curvier with blonde hair. In real life, Hilty is indeed an experienced Broadway performer. Karen is the green newcomer. She doesn’t have much experience but she’s supposed to stand out because she has talent and star quality – which isn’t really apparent at all. McPhee is remembered as an American Idol finalist from many seasons ago. The producers are wowed by Karen but she really isn’t very interesting and Ivy obviously has a stronger voice.
The show has original music as well, which was unfortunately unremarkable and wasn’t at all catchy. If you’re going to make a show about musicals and write new music for it, here’s an idea – create some compelling, exciting music. Perhaps Spielberg should stick to what he does best, those big blockbusters.