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10 Years Later, We’re One way or the other Residing in an Episode of ‘Smash’


It’s been 10 years for the reason that main girls of Smash implored us to allow them to be our stars. NBC’s musical collection, which centered on the creation of a fictional Broadway present about Marilyn Monroe, began as a promising pilot that premiered after that 12 months’s Tremendous Bowl. However the present quickly devolved right into a soapy cautionary story each onscreen and off, and finally, it lasted simply two notorious seasons.

But regardless of its comparatively brief and largely reviled run, Smash has managed to tap-dance its approach into the zeitgeist repeatedly. On the ultimate season of Ladies, a present that additionally premiered in 2012 and featured a pilot scene with our heroine’s mom performed by Becky Ann Baker, Andrew Rannells’s Elijah sings “Let Me Be Your Star” to audition for a fictional White Males Can’t Bounce Broadway musical. (Naturally, he nabs the position.) A lot of the solid of Smash, together with Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Debra Messing, and Christian Borle, has reunited over time—in 2015 for a sold-out Bombshell live performance and in 2020 for a COVID-era Zoom.

Even now, a decade after its premiere, Smash is curiously related. Residing in 2022 feels a bit like enduring the present’s jarring second-season retooling—a stunning end result for anybody who assumed this extremely area of interest collection would fade from reminiscence as soon as the curtain fell.

What, precisely, do I imply: Let’s toss on one in all Julia’s notorious scarves and look at the proof:

All This Humorous Woman Drama. Smash’s central storyline is the battle for the position of Marilyn Monroe, as fought between seasoned Broadway ensemble member Ivy Lynn (Hilty) and Iowa-born newcomer Karen Cartwright (McPhee). This struggle causes turmoil onstage and off for Bombshell—a battle that’s apparently been mirrored by the precise Broadway revival of Humorous Woman. Theater folks gasped once they discovered that star Beanie Feldstein would go away the titular position sooner than anticipated and get replaced by Lea Michele. After all, there are thematic parallels right here—Michele’s years-long marketing campaign to play Fanny Brice feels particularly Ivy-esque, whereas questions on Feldstein’s expertise place her nearer to Karen territory. There’s additionally the matter of reported discord between Feldstein and her understudy, Julie Benko, in addition to Feldstein and Michele apparently sharing the identical theater agent, all of which seem to be plotlines ripped from the Smash writers’ room.

There are additionally literal connections between each titles. Humorous Woman’s director, Michael Mayer (who additionally helmed this 12 months’s Michele-centered Spring Awakening reunion particular), directed a number of episodes of Smash, together with its pilot. Harvey Fierstein, who wrote the Humorous Woman revival’s ebook, seems as himself in season two of Smash. And who may overlook this unbelievable point out of Michele in season one, episode eight? “Lea Michele? Lea Michele?!” Jeremy Jordan’s Jimmy cries on the mere point out of her being solid in his present. Director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport) replies, “You say it yet another time, she magically seems.”

Marilyn Mania. Ms. Monroe has been a fixture of popular culture for many years, however Smash’s laser concentrate on the icon now appears nearly prescient. This 12 months alone has seen CNN’s Reframed: Marilyn Monroe in January, Netflix’s The Thriller of Marilyn Monroe: The Unheard Tapes in April, and—in September—the NC-17 biopic Blonde, starring Ana de Armas. After all, Kim Kardashian additionally made headlines at this 12 months’s Met Gala for donning (and destroying?) a robe as soon as worn by Monroe.

Extra and Extra Film-Impressed Musicals. “Revivals and flicks—why doesn’t anybody do new musicals anymore?” Julia (Messing) opines within the present’s pilot. Whereas her gripe was true in 2012, it’s solely been cemented up to now decade. Plenty of revivals and film-inspired musicals have opened on Broadway since, together with Rocky, Waitress (as soon as led by McPhee), Fairly Girl, Imply Ladies, and this fall’s Virtually Well-known. Smash can also have one thing to do with the onslaught of biopic musicals reminiscent of Diana: The Musical, The Cher Present, and Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.

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