As a sometime player in the Broadway follies, I was most excited to finally see NBC’s “Smash” debut last week, after a more-than-relentless series of promotional ploys. I mean, I saw promos, adverts and hype, literally, everywhere.
There was even a special premiere at the esteemed Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Executive Producer Steven Spielberg didn’t show, but everyone else did. The cast, crew, writers, it was quite the scene.
So, on to the show: I didn’t absolutely love it, but I didn’t hate it either. The behind-the-scenes machinations of mounting a Broadway show was most admirable premise.
If you’ve never done it, you can’t believe how detail-oriented it is and just how much drama there is. Each and every member of the production tends to feel that they are irreplaceable and acts accordingly. So, even the most distaff PA (and, you can define that any way you want) thinks they’re God.
Believe it or not, my first criticism is how much fun they had with The New York Post’s theater critic Michael Riedel. He gained national prominence after his almost-daily excoriation of the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.
I know Michael and after his adventure in Spidey Land, everyone else seemed to as well. My God, his name must have been mentioned at least a half-dozen times in the script. I hope he got a good chuck of that Spielberg money.
My other major observation is that the play in production is about ’50s screen siren Marilyn Monroe. Hasn’t that been done to death, and, truth be told, it’s a very, very pithy subject for a play anyway.
With the current Michele Williams film, “My Week with Marilyn,” in play, it seems like a bad fit; someone wasn’t doing their homework. Also, the bitchiness between the writers and the assistants is somewhat laughable, too.
One aide seems to be a bit-too-close to one of the playwrights. When he tapes a rehearsal, then posts it too a YouTube-like site, it at first seems to undermine everything. Then in an instant, everything is fine.
The whole scene comes off well, but the more you think about it, the more you realize that it would have been hard for something like that to have ever happened.
Also, Deborah Messing’s husband (Brian d’Arcy James), while seemingly working on an adoption, is a tad too limp-wristed for me.
The two leads, Katherine McPhee and Broadway-vet Megan Hilty are fine. McPhee in particular is terrific. So, I will continue to watch. But as episode one showed convincingly, there’s just too much drama on Broadway.
Names in the News
Coatimundi, Tom & Lisa Cuddy, Tony King, David Furnish, Roy Trakin, Jonathan Wolfson, Carol Kayos, Jeb O’Brien, Seymour Stein, Brad LeBeau, Andrew Saffir, Daniel Benedict, Eric Cohen, Freddy Bastone, Larry Yasgur, Ricky Crespo, Melissa Daniels, Bruce Carbone.