Debra Messing and Christian Borle play writers and American Idol runner-up Katherine McPhee is the aspiring actress in NBC’s “Smash,” a new series about putting together a Broadway musical.
The show is being executive produced by Steven Spielberg with help from the producers of Broadway hits American Idiot, Chicago, Hairspray and Spring Awakening.
How can it go wrong?
The hour-long series is obviously inspired by the success of Fox’s musical series “Glee,” which includes staged dance productions much like a theater musical.
“When you have a really good show, there’s a sense of excitement,” says Anjelica Houston in a behind-the-scenes video.
Houston plays a Broadway producer of a fictional musical about Marilyn Monroe.
Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose company produced the film “My Week With Marilyn,” starring Michele Williams, has actually raised the possibility of just such a show.
Weinstein envisions Katy Perry in the lead role, but said such a production is several years off.
Spielberg has also had thoughts about Broadway, but as a drama all its own.
“I’ve had this idea for quite a few years,” he says in the video. “I’m really interested in what happens backstage … For me, it’s a complete mystery how they do it in theater.”
The show will feature lots of backstage drama and personal conflict as egos clash over the creation of the show.
Huston’s character, Eileen Rand, is in the middle of a nasty divorce that could threaten the show.
In shades of the hit movie “Black Swan,” McPhee’s young starlet character from Iowa threatens to take the lead role from stage veteran Ivy Lynn, played by Megan Hilty.
And it wouldn’t be a show about Broadway without a brilliant, ambitious, womanizing director, played by Jack Davenport.
“Choreographers battling with writers and actors auditioning in competition with each other,” Spielberg says.
“That entire mix often sets off thermonuclear explosions, which I think makes good drama for television. It just makes good drama, period.”
The series will also feature original music by composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
It premieres Feb. 6 at 8pm, Eastern. Check out the extended video below.