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 Broadway.com, 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, 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
NY Magazinetakes 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.”’
As the Los Angeles Timescomments 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.)’
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’.”
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.
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.
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.
Megan Hilty, who has starred in hit Broadway musicals such as Nine to Five and Wicked, will appear in the pilot episode of a new TV show, Smash.
Following in the footsteps of Glee, Smash is a comic take on the theatre world. Based on an idea by Stephen Spielberg, the series will feature original songs.
In the pilot, Hilty will play an actress preparing to star as Marilyn Monroe in a Broadway musical. Unfortunately, Hilty’s character is deemed too old for the role, and is relegated to the chorus.
Debra Messing (Will and Grace) will play the show’s lyricist, Julia, while the actor playing the composer, Tom, has not yet been confirmed. The pilot was written by Theresa Rebeck and will be directed by Michael Mayer.