Smash: The Callback

‘The Callback’, Episode 2 of Smash, has aired on NBC.

“Everyone we’ve spoken to seems to heavily favor the Ivy character — she’s more real, she seems fit for the stage, she drinks wine in her apartment alone (relatable!) — over the pure-and-pretty-as-cornsilk Karen. Maybe this dynamic will change, it would be interesting to watch that Black Swan/White Swan flip-flop a little, but we are nervous that they’ve given Ivy the early lead just so we can watch her stumble and crumble as the season goes on. Not that she’s being painted as a sadsack villain or anything, far from it, and not that we don’t necessarily trust the writers to trade in a lot more gray than black and white. It’s just, c’mon. We need a hero to root for here. And we’re worried they’re going to push for McPhee in a big way.” The Atlantic

20th Century Fox Mambo

A preview of the upcoming second episode of Smash, ‘The Callback’, in which Karen (played by Katharine McPhee) sings ’20th Century Fox Mambo’. The rehearsal clip can be viewed on ONTD, but the final cut is available to US viewers only.

I have to say I prefer this sultry number to ‘National Pastime’, the baseball-themed song performed by Ivy (Megan Hilty) in the pilot episode.

Megan Hilty’s New Role

Megan Hilty, star of Smash, spoke to the New York Observer about the challenge of playing a wannabe Monroe:

‘We asked, in the season that has seen Michelle Williams get nominated for an Oscar for playing Marilyn then trotting that character out on magazine covers, if it was possible to distinguish oneself playing Monroe. “Well, she is certainly having a moment!,” said Ms. Hilty. “My whole career so far is taking things other people have established and trying to make them my own!” (Ms. Hilty took over a lead role in Wicked and played the Dolly Parton role in the musical adaptation of 9 to 5.) “I can always hide behind Ivy Lynn. I’m playing a character who’s playing Marilyn Monroe. That makes it a little less daunting. But I’m constantly doing research and—all of her biographies are wildly different and all cover different parts of her life. No one biography has her whole story! There’s always something else to learn and infuse into the character.”’

And according to, Hilty will take on another MM-inspired role when she plays Lorelei Lee in a new stage production of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, due to open in new York this spring.

‘Smash’: Pilot Episode Streams

Smash, NBC’s new series about the staging a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, will premiere on NBC on Monday, February 6 (to follow later in the UK’s subscription-only satellite channel, Sky Atlantic.)

A pilot episode is now freely available on iTunes:

“A loving paean to Broadway, and to the enduring legacy of Monroe.” – Daily Beast

“If Smash wanted to be loved more than admired, it’d be an instant camp classic. Alas, it will probably just be a hit instead.” – New York Observer

‘“Without a Marilyn we’re nothing!” a songwriter exclaims in the middle of the talent search.

Sorry, guys, but even with two Marilyns, you’re still nothing…Both women are generic belters, with none of the certain something that made Marilyn so memorable.’ – San Antonio Current



A House of Mirrors Called ‘Smash’

Megan Hilty sings ‘Let’s Be Bad’ in “Smash”

NY Magazine takes an in-depth look at the making of Smash, the upcoming TV series about a theatre company’s attempt to stage a Broadway musical about Marilyn’s life:

‘“She stands for so many things that people in showbiz go through,” says songwriter Scott Wittman, “and she’s so iconic that you can just drop her into a situation and the audience will already know what’s going on. You don’t have to do a lot of explaining about who Joe DiMaggio or Arthur Miller are.” Marc Shaiman demurs: “I’m not sure that 15-year-old girls know who Arthur Miller is.”’

Marilyn Inspires NBC’s ‘Smash’

Megan Hilty with Katharine McPhee

As the Los Angeles Times comments today, 2012 will mark the 50th anniversary of Marilyn’s death. Of course, this has not gone unnoticed by film-makers, or the producers of the upcoming NBC series, Smash:

“In February, Monroe comes to the small screen via the NBC scripted series Smash, in which theater producers mount a fictional Broadway show about the bombshell’s life. The real-life Broadway actress Megan Hilty and American Idol star-cum-recording artist Katharine McPhee, putting her own spin on ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President,’ each vie to play her.

As if that weren’t enough, the series could spawn an actual Broadway musical, with creators developing lyrics and music with an eye toward putting it all on a stage.

‘You can actually squint and see a real Marilyn musical,’ said Craig Zadan, an executive producer on Smash and a Broadway producer of note in his own right. ‘There are already a bunch of new songs, and one of the possibilities if the show becomes a hit is to regroup and try to put it on Broadway.’ (A 1983 Broadway effort, Marilyn: An American Fable, flopped, though that was heavily fictionalized and largely panned.)”

Uma Thurman to Star in TV’s ‘Smash’

Actress Uma Thurman, best known for her performances in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, will guest star in five episodes of the upcoming NBC series, Smash. The first season, due to air stateside in February, focuses on the production of a Broadway musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe.

According to Entertainment Weekly, Uma will play “a famous and somewhat difficult movie star who flirts with the idea of starring in ‘Marilyn’.”

Variations on Marilyn

The Munsters and their niece, Marilyn

The myriad imitators of Marilyn Monroe have been much-discussed of late. Perhaps the most interesting analysis comes from The AV Club, considering past film portrayals in The Goddess, The Sex Symbol, Insignificance, and Mister Lonely; Marilyn-inspired characters in The Munsters and Gilligan’s Island; famous fans like Anna Nicole Smith and Lindsay Lohan; the music of Marilyn Manson; fictionalisations by Arthur Miller, Norman Mailer, and John Varley’s Gaea trilogy; recreations of Marilyn’s birthday song for President Kennedy, by Madonna and Jennifer Lopez; and the forthcoming NBC series, Smash.

‘Smash’ Trailer on NBC

Katharine McPhee

A trailer for the upcoming TV series, Smash, has been previewed on NBC. The pilot episode concerns an attempt to stage a musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. An established actress (Megan Hilty) competes with an unknown (Katharine McPhee) for the lead role. Described as ‘Glee for grown-ups’, Smash will be shown on NBC in the US later this year.

McPhee is a natural brunette, but the above photo, taken in 2009, shows what she might look like as a blonde.

View trailer here

Anjelica Huston Joins ‘Smash’

Anjelica Huston will play Eileen, an intelligent but cynical theatre critic, in the NBC pilot Smash, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The episode will focus on an attempt to stage an off-Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.

Anjelica, 59, is the daughter of director John Huston, who helmed two of Monroe’s best movies: The Asphalt Jungle (1950) and The Misfits (1961.)

Anjelica is also a distinguished actress, director and political activist. She won an Oscar for her role in Prizzi’s Honour (1983), and has also starred in The Grifters (1990), The Addams Family (1991), and The Royal Tennenbaums (2001.)

In 2005, Anjelica contributed an essay to photographer Eve Arnold’s book, Marilyn Monroe. Ms Huston is currently writing her own memoir, as reported in The Guardian.