It's time for an encore! Although Smash was not a smash hit on NBC, another network is ready to embrace all the campy, Broadway goodness. Ovation has snagged the rights to air the previously-cancelled musical-drama giving new fans a chance to fall in love with the show's dynamic duo Ivy Lynn (Meghan Hilty) and Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee).
According to Entertainment Weekly, Ovation's Chief Creative Officer, Robert Weiss is thrilled that Smash will join their lineup. "Smash is exactly the kind of art-centric programming that Ovation's viewers crave. This high-quality series fits in brilliantly with our efforts to showcase the powerful role that the Arts play in our lives. Ovation is thrilled to satisfy the wishes of diehard Smash fans and followers to keep the series alive, as well as to provide viewers, who are new to the series, an opportunity to experience the incredible talent, music, dancing, drama and excitement."
Although NBC dimmed the lights on Broadway for this series, at least fans of the show will have the chance to relive the sparkling drama beginning July 19 at 8 PM. Tune in every Friday to watch the Season 1 drama with Karen and Ivy's quest for the spotlight as Marilyn in "Bombshell" and Season 2 will premiere later this fall.
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The Season 2 premiere of Smash is just a few hours away, so to help refresh your memory after all of those Bombshell-free months, we’ve compiled a drama-filled catch-up guide. We also used our powers of penmanship to create a list of the top five things you need to know about tonight’s two hour spectacular, “On Broadway” and “The Fallout.” Plus, we chatted with the ridiculously talented Smash newcomers and gathered everything you need to know about your three soon-too-be favorite characters. Let the show begin!
Where We Left Off: Season 1 of Smash was filled to the brim with creative performances, A-list guest stars, and cringe-worthy dialogue — making it everyone’s favorite show to critique yet crave. Creative duo Julia and Tom were inspired to create a brand-new Broadway musical centered on the life of Marilyn Monroe. Chorus line-veteran Ivy Lynn was an obvious choice for the sexy yet curvy blonde lead, however, there was something about small town girl Karen Cartwright that captured director Derek Wills’ attention. Pretty impressive, considering the fact that Ivy was sleeping with Derek. For months, the two girls battled it out back and forth for the coveted role (and at some point a random movie star played by Uma Thurman held the role until they discovered that she couldn’t sing and was nearly poisoned to death with a peanut-filled smoothie). But through all the craziness, Karen nabbed the lead in the end and gave a tear-jerking performance, despite the trauma of being “in tech” for what seemed like years and realizing that Ivy had slept with her fiancé. Oh and there was also Ellis, a smarmy assistant turned associate producer turned killer smoothie maker that everyone absolutely hated until he was finally fired in the finale.
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Biggest Jaw-Dropper of Season 1: Music-filled shows are no longer anything new, however, the most jaw-dropping attribute of Smash is how consistently amazing all of the original songs are. Out of season one’s 15 episodes, Smash featured 30 catchy original songs, and many of the numbers were accompanied by over-the-top yet mesmerizing performances. How many times did you watch “The National Pastime” — the infectiousy fun baseball performance — on YouTube? Six… hundred times? Us too!
Biggest Letdown of Season 1: The entire Julia storyline. From the completely random unsuccessful adoption, to the strained infidelity-ridden marriage, to the absolutely pathetic acting from her pot-smoking, sandwich-loving son Leo, Smash wasted valuable performance time trying to make us care about this family. We never did.
Most Improved Character: This category is such a toss-up, but we’re going to give the coveted award to Derek Wills. At the beginning of the season, Derek was a womanizing douchebag who dangled his directorial power like a cat toy to young and ambitious women. It didn’t help that he was sleeping with Ivy, and that she oh-so conveniently snagged the role of Marilyn. But as the episodes progressed, so did Derek’s sense of compassion and likability. He became quippy, enthusiastic and — dare we say it — absolutely charming.
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Least Improved Character: Congratulations Miss Eileen Rand! Despite the fact that somehow you nabbed a hunky young bartender boyfriend, your personality was a stagnant mess of we don’t really care. However, we do admire the way you can throw a drink in a man’s face with dignity and class.
What We Ultimately Want To See: After the back and forth will-they-won’t-they of Season 1, we want to see Bombshell finally make it to Broadway. Also, we need Karen to have a bit more of an edge, and to not be swept away by another loser llike Dev. We want to see Ivy stand on her own two feet and become the strong and fierce lead performer that we all know she can be. Karen and Ivy need to have at least three more duets together, and we want at least one throwback line to Will and Grace when Sean Hayes guest stars. Just for fun, we’d like to see Neil Patrick Harris have a brief but memorable appearance. And even though we’re already completely and totally enamored by Karen’s new love interest Jimmy, we’d like to see what a full-fledged Karen/Derek relationship would look like.
What Would Make Us Turn Our Backs: If Ellis sabotages Bombshell one more time we’re going to scream and shove peanuts down his throat. Get a hobby, dude.
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5 Reasons You Should Keep Watching: The Season 2 premiere is jam-packed with numerous reasons as to why you need to keep watching this musically inclined drama, but we’ll go ahead and limit it down to five.
1. Meet Your Newest Crush: Smash hasn’t had a full-fledged bad boy just yet, so get excited ladies — Jimmy is that gorgeous troublemaker that your mother warned you about. We caught up with star Jeremy Jordan to learn a bit more about this unbelievably talented composer. “He’s got a pretty shady past that led him to build these barriers around himself and not trust anyone,” he says. But of course, how could you not trust Karen’s sweet small town face? These two opposites definitely begin to attract within the very first episode, and by the fourth things are very heated. Jordan explains, “There’s that energy and that unspoken connection — that undeniable thing between them that keeps drawing them together, even though they’re so bad for each other.”
2. Tootles Boys: The three most obnoxious fellas to suck up screen time in season one — Dev, Leo and Ellis — are MIA from our line of sight for at least the first four episodes. Sure they may be briefly mentioned, but their whining and overall suckiness won’t take up Smash’s precious screen time. Phew!
3. Newbie Roomie: Now that Karen is officially a single lady, she needs a new place to live and a fresh start. Enter stage left, Ana: a spunky, outgoing and insightfully opinionated Broadway hopeful and friend of Karen’s. The background info on these two ladies was cut from the first episode, but Krysta Rodriguez gave us the inside scoop, “She is a friend from Karen’s life in New York," she says. "Ana was on tour with West Side Story, but she knew [Karen] before from the restaurant they worked in. Now that Ana’s back, she has a room to move into.” Ana will quickly get involved with the new musical that Smash is featuring, “Hit List” — an edgy and contemporary tale that is completely different than “Bombshell.” Fans can except to see Ana definitely try to make Karen a more outgoing an assertive person, and for that we thank her.
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4. Will & Grace 2.0: It’s no secret that Julia’s marriage is on the rocks, and Brian d’Arcy James (who plays her husband) is no longer a series regular. So, spoiler alert: By the end of the first episode, Julia will be turning to her bestie/business partner Tom for some comfort, but instead she’ll wind up with a new roommate! “You know what why don’t you just stay here," Tom says. "It’ll be like old times, or a sitcom.” It’s Will & Grace the sequel, and although nothing can top the amazingness of NBC’s former blockbuster comedy, fans can look forward to seeing Debra Messing act a lot her former erratic character. Plus, Sean Hayes — aka Just Jack! — is guest staring this season. Now if we can somehow get Megan Mullally to bring back Karen as an investor then we can all die happy.
5. Hot New Musical: If you were getting sick of the cast constantly singing about Marilyn Monroe, then you’re in luck! “Hit List” is the edgy new musical that Jimmy is composing and Kyle is writing. Who is Kyle, you ask? We talked with Smash newbie Andy Mientus to fill you in on this endearing new character. “Kyle is a completely open book, and a total purely beating heart. It’s all on his sleeve — if he’s star-struck he can’t help but express it, and he over-speaks and catches himself. He loves musical theater so intensely more than anything else." Fans will instantly see that these two men are more than just business partners. Mientus explains, “Kyle has been Jimmy’s support for a lot of years, They’re childhood friends, and they really are almost like brothers. Kyle is really responsible for Jimmy being on a good path — he’s helped him come out of some trouble.”
Don’t miss the Smash Season 2 Premiere tonight at 9 PM on NBC!
Will you tune into Smash tonight? Which new character are you excited to meet? Sing your thoughts in the comments below!
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[Photo Credit: NBC]
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One of the most hotly anticipate shows this winter is NBC's musical romp, Smash. The series boasts vets from all facets of the industry - small screen sirens, Broadway startets and vets, and big screen mavens all join together to round out a talented cast. But from the looks of the pilot episode - and the poster (left) many of our players are looking at almost equal billing and equal screen time. It takes a village to raise a Broadway show, and this village is raising a show about one of Hollywood's biggest icons, Marilyn Monroe, so they've assembled quite the team. So who are we dealing with here? We've got a little breakdown of the six main cast members, and indispensible agents in the creation of a full-scale Broadway production, for NBC's biggest midseason player.
The Sweet, Struggling Newbie
Karen Cartwright (Katherine McPhee)
Ambiguously Midwestern background: check. Sweet demeanor thrown in stark contrast against the cutthroat theater realm: check. Karen is the singer we all love to root for. The one who's rife with talent that we, the audience, see so clearly while those dummy casting directors on TV can't seem to grasp it. She's a newbie who can't manage to even break in to dance in a chorus line, but then, she has her moment. She shines and the whole world stops to listen. It's like a Cinderella story except her crowning moment doesn't come with a prince, but instead with rehearsals, leotards and even steeper competition.
The Desperate Diva
Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty)
As a contrast to McPhee's bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Karen, Ivy has been at this for years. And she's been in show after show, but only as a chorus girl. She's sick and tired of being relegated to the background; she's got the chops, but she can't manage to squeeze her way into the spotlight. She's a "shoe-in" for Marilyn - she's got the curves, the sass, and she happens to be besties with one half of the song-writing duo behind the whole thing. And we'd almost root for her too if she wasn't going up against our heroine, Karen.
The Talented Working Mom
Julia Houston (Debra Messing)
Messing takes on another classic New York profession (on Will & Grace, she was a highly stylized interior designer): a lauded lyricist whose many works have graced the Great White Way. There's just this other small factor of her family life and a husband who thinks she works too much. They're looking to adopt, but her song-writing genius cannot be stopped. She's a much more sane character than our beloved Grace Adler, but Messing brings a bit of that manic charm to the busier-than-a-bumble-bee lyrical genius.
The Stubborn Good Guy
Tom Levitt (Christian Borle)
He's the yin to Julia's yang, the other half of her song-writing duo. He lives, breathes, eats, and sleeps theater and once the idea of a Marilyn musical is out in the open, there's no stopping him. Plus, he's desperate to help out his dear friend, Ivy Lynn, who he sees as the embodiment of the beloved screen siren. He is very much the good guy, but his stubborness can tend to get in the way - and on occasion, make him look like the cantankerous one.
The Brilliant Bad Boy
Derek Wills (Jack Davenport)
He's your typical can't-live-with-him-can't-live-without-him character - and the object of good guy Tom's ardent ire. Derek Wills is known across the industry for his brilliant choreography and direction, so naturally the producer wants him on the Marilyn job. And from what we've seen thus far, Tom's going to have to get over his issues because Wills is the tops. He's also attractive, alluring and British - the trifecta. He seems to be a bid of a baddie, but one we're going to love watching.
The Queen Bee Broadway Vet
Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston)
She's the final piece of the musical puzzle: the money. A legendary Broadway producer, Eileen can spot a hit from a mile away and she sees dollar signs with the Marilyn musical. She's determined to get the best team signed on for the project, even if that means she has to play referee while Derek and Tom duke it out. Of course, added to all this infighting even in the Marilyn production's infancy, she's got her own war at home. We're sure this won't complicate things...at all.
Smash premieres on NBC, Monday, Feb. 6. For a sneak peek, you can watch the entire pilot episode on NBC.com.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
Proving that everything “old” can be new again 17 Again opens in 1989 where star basketball player Mike O’Donnell turns his back on a college scholarship deciding instead to marry his girlfriend Scarlet when she reveals they are suddenly expecting a baby. Cut to 20 years later Mike’s marriage and job are floundering when he is physically transformed back into his 17-year-old self although his mind and sensibilities still remain that of a decidedly square thirtysomething dude. With the help of his nerdy-turned-billionaire best childhood buddy Ned he gets himself enrolled in the same school his own teenage kids now attend. Can he help them avert the same kinds of mistakes now that he (sorta) has a second chance to change?
WHO’S IN IT?
Zac Efron (High School Musical) shoots and scores in a breakout starring role. He shows he’s got the comic chops to believably pull off the way-out-there premise of being a 37-year-old trapped in a 17-year-old’s body. Matthew Perry (Friends) does a nice job bookending the movie as the older Mike but it’s Efron’s show all the way. Thomas Lennon follows up his hilarious supporting antics as the spurned man-date in I Love You Man with some equally amusing work as Mike’s friend Ned while Leslie Mann plays the estranged wife in style. As Mike’s kids who unknowingly become high school buds with their own father newcomer Sterling Knight and Michelle Trachtenberg get enough screen time to shine. Melora Hardin (The Office) is also quite funny as the school principal that lovelorn Ned keeps stalking.
Although the premise of the adult/kid switcheroo has been done to death director Burr Steers and writer Jason Filardi take it one step further a la It's a Wonderful Life or Damn Yankees by letting their main character regain his youth for the chance to see what his life would be like if he could live it another way. This fanciful premise makes this “teen” comedy one that adults will probably enjoy even more.
The filmmakers sometimes have a tendency to go over the top particularly in the "Star Wars fight sequence" when the newly transformed Mike confronts old friend Ned with the news and a laser battle erupts (!). Another scene where 17-year-old Mike is seduced by his own unwitting daughter may be funny but it veers a little too far into creepy territory.
DOES THIS SOUND FAMILIAR?
If you like 17 Again try renting 18 Again in which 81-year-old George Burns switches places with his grandson. Or how about Big Vice Versa Like Father Like Son or either version of Freaky Friday? And who said there are no original ideas in Hollywood ...
NETFLIX OR MULTIPLEX?
A no-brainer — the "Zac Pack" will be out in force on opening day.
There are distinct echoes of Alan Alda’s The Four Seasons and Lawrence Kasdan’s The Big Chill here as the film focuses on four couples who have been friends since their college days. Periodically they get together and ask themselves the title question as they re-examine their relationships. There’s Janet Jackson as Patricia the college lecturer whose best-selling book is based on her friends’ relationships. Patricia and her husband Gavin (Malik Yoba) are trying to hold their marriage together after the loss of their young son in a tragic car accident. The cocky Mike (Richard T. Jones) flaunts an adulterous relationship in front of his insecure overweight wife Shelia (Jill Scott) who is completely oblivious to the deception. Terry (Perry himself) is a successful pediatrician trying to convince his wife Diane (Sharon Leal)--a successful attorney in her own right--to have more kids. Marcus (Michael Jai White) a former pro football player merely tries to get through the day without a tongue-lashing from his acerbic wife Angela (Tasha Smith) a woman not known for keeping her opinions to herself regardless of how appropriate the circumstances. All of them find themselves confronting career demands family demands infidelity incompatibility and mistrust--all while drinking far too much wine. Needless to say before their get-together is over a number of secrets will be divulged and each couple will find their relationships shaken to their respective cores. Forgoing the housedress of his cinematic alter-ego “Madea ” Perry proves an affable screen personality quite relaxed within the ensemble. Jones doesn’t go out of his way to make Mike in any way likable which makes his one of the more memorable and clearly defined characters in the entire cast. Although Smith gets all the sassy lines White easily steals their scenes together with a surprisingly appealing comic turn. Hunky Lamman Rucker plays a dreamboat sheriff who finds himself drawn into this ever-shifting circle of friends. The women have a tougher go of it with Jackson giving a tremulous performance that makes her character almost disappear into the background. Yoba is also low-key although more affectingly so as her onscreen spouse. Leal does what she can with the stock role of a career woman who takes her home life for granted but she fares better than Scott whose crying scenes--and there are more than one--ground the story to a halt. All told however the ensemble cast has an easy and relaxed chemistry together which keeps the film--as soapy as uneven as it often is--afloat throughout. Tyler Perry doesn’t open up his stage play to any major degree preferring to leave the emphasis on characters and dialogue--both of which incidentally he has created. Perry tends to approach these intricate topics with broad (but not irrelevant) strokes but he’s not about to tamper with a successful formula. Like most of Perry’s previous films (Diary of a Mad Black Woman Madea*s Family Reunion et. al.) Why Did I Get Married? runs on a bit and overstates its case but its heart’s in the right place.