For all its faults, no one can accuse Smash of having an awful cast. Despite what we thought of the show as it wrapped up its second and final season, we knew we were going to miss seeing Megan Hilty and Jack Davenport on our screens every week. They, along with Will Chase, have joined other projects: Sean Saves the World, Breathless, and Nashville. We might not miss Katharine McPhee’s flat performance as Karen Cartwright or the overdramatic plot developments: Surprise death! Surprise pregnancy! But we do miss these very talented people on our TVs every week.
As a Tony Award-winning star, his talents were underutilized on Smash. We’d like to see him in something with a little more staying power.
Leslie Odom Jr.
Who didn’t love Sam Strickland? Odom Jr. made us all fall in love with Sam (even though he was more interested in Tom,) so we’d really love to see him land a long-term role instead of a couple guest spots.
We cried when Kyle died. Not because those episodes were well written, but because Mientus was leaving. His time on Smash was cut short and we’re still angry about it.
We’re happy for Rodriguez because she’s starring on Broadway with Zacahary Levi in First Date, but we’re selfish and we’d like to see her back on TV.
Again, we’re happy Jordan landed a part in the movie adaptation of The Last Five Years — especially because he gets to play opposite Anna Kendrick — but we miss him and his voice (and, let’s be honest, his face.)
Actor Zachary Levi's first stint on Broadway is coming to an end, as the musical First Date is slated to close early next year (14). The Tangled star made his Broadway debut in the musical comedy in July (13), playing highly-strung bachelor Aaron, who is paired up with a serial dater named Casey, played by Smash beauty Krysta Rodriguez.
However the show, which follows the couple's romantic evening as it gets interrupted by fake emergency phone calls and manipulative exes, will end its run after 174 performances.
The lights will go out on First Date on 5 February (14).
Tangled star Zachary Levi is set to make his Broadway debut in new musical comedy First Date. The actor will play highly-strung bachelor Aaron, who is paired up with a serial dater named Casey, played by Smash beauty Krysta Rodriguez.
The production, to be directed by Bill Berry, will follow the couple's romantic evening as it gets interrupted by fake emergency phone calls and manipulative exes.
Arrested Development's Sara Chase and Kate Loprest of Boardwalk Empire will round out the cast.
Levi will take his first bow at New York City's Longacre Theatre on 9 July (13).
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.
RELATED: ‘Smash’ Scoop: New Showrunner Talks Season 2 Changes
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.
RELATED: Leanne's Spoiler List: Season 2 Secrets from 'Smash,' 'Vampire Diaries' Boss Talks Delena
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.
RELATED: Leanne's Spoiler List: 'Smash' Will Shake Things Up, 'Vampire Diaries' Gets Intense
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.
RELATED: TV Tidbits: NBC Debuts a 'Smash'-ing New Poster, 'Arrow' Nabs a 'True Blood' Star
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!
Follow Leanne on Twitter @LeanneAguilera
[Photo Credit: NBC]
You Might Also Like:
Biden? Ford? Surprisingly Hot Young Pics of Politicians
Who Wore This Crazy Hat?
Stars Who Changed Their Look After Love
Julia Houston is about to ensnare yet another theatre hunk in her hypnotic web of scarves. Debra Messing's character on NBC's Broadway musical pageant Smash may be ditching her husband this upcoming season, but that doesn't mean that the troubled lyricist won't still be battling off love interests. (Let's just take a moment and remember how lucky we are that Michael Swift, played by the indelible Will Chase, won't be one of them.)
Rescue Me and Grey's Anatomy alumni Daniel Sunjata has been tapped to recur as a new romantic partner for Messing's Julia, according to EW. Details about his character are mum — we're not sure whether he'll be connected to the theatre, or completely removed from it (which could work in Julia's favor). Sunjata will appear throughout the season, along with other new cast members (and Broadway vets) Jeremy Jordan, Andy Mientus and Krysta Rodriguez.
The other big Smash news today comes in the form of a short clip released by NBC that teases the arrival of Jennifer Hudson, who will join the show as Veronica, a Tony Award-winning actress who peaked too early and ostensibly tries to steal yet another slice of the spotlight from Karen (Katharine McPhee) and Ivy (the flawless Megan Hilty).
"Somebody's always waiting to take you down, honey," muses the wizened old Hudson, who will no doubt bring some incredible vocals to the show — not that it needed them, of course.
Follow Marc on Twitter @MarcSnetiker
[Photo Credit: NBC]
'Smash' Cast Newbies: Why Next Season Will Be Unexpectedly Fantastic
2012 Emmy Longshots: 'Smash' Singing Sensation Megan Hilty
'Smash' Gets a Sexy New Man: Will He Be a Victim of the ‘Gossip Girl’ Effect?
Let’s be brutally honest for a minute: the first season of Smash was, in a word, ridiculous. Save for the fantastic production numbers, the charming big picture (a Broadway musical has drama behind the drama!) and the welcome television debuts of Megan Hilty and Christian Borle, the show was teetering somewhere on the brink between realistic behind-the-scenes melodrama and hyperbolic baby-grabbin’, pill-poppin’, smoothie-poisonin’ foolishness.
New showrunner Josh Safran (Gossip Girl) had barely even joined the team last May when he decided to oust the most criminal perpetuators of the Smash ridiculata: eavesdropper Ellis (Jaime Cepero), boring lawyer Dev (Raza Jaffrey), eyebrow model/scorned husband Frank (Brian D’Arcy James, an unfortunate loss) and homewrecker Michael (Will Chase, a not-as-unfortunate loss). It’s fabulous that Safran is already making the most necessary of nips and tucks when it comes to revamping the show’s snoozefest array of guys — but what I’m most excited about are the changes coming down the Great White Way next.
You probably know that Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls, American Idol, Weight Watchers) is joining the Smash team as Veronica, a Tony-winning Broadway diva who peaked early and has since attempted to recapture fame on the stage. Then there’s Jeremy Jordan (Broadway’s Newsies), playing a square-jawed, angel-voiced singer from Brooklyn with a “self-destructive streak,” and Andy Mientus (Spring Awakening) as a poor writer with Broadway composing dreams. The newest bit of stage recruiting comes with Krysta Rodriguez (The Addams Family), who joined the cast on Friday as Karen’s sassy new roommate, and new series regular status for Sam, played by Leslie Odom Jr. (Leap of Faith), who will be bumped up from recurring guest star for season two.
I don’t have to spell out Hudson’s appeal or explain why she’ll add some much-needed likeability and diversity to the show, but as a lifelong fan of Broadway who actually knows these new cast members from their stage endeavors, I feel compelled to explain why these new casting choices are so brilliant. Frankly, I don’t know if the network television audiences realize just how lucky they are to have these monumentally-talented faces shining on their TV screens in just a few months.
Sexy Young Broadway Stars!
If Safran’s goal is to infuse some Gossip Girl sexiness with Smash’s talent pool, then he’s got a hit with Jordan, who broke onto the scene with a revelatory turn in last season’s Bonnie and Clyde and is currently slingin’ critically acclaimed papes eight times a week in Newsies. The Joyful Noise actor has quickly risen to stardom faster than most stage heartthrobs in recent memory, and I predict that when Smash returns to air next mid-season, there are going to be quite a lot of girls jumping on the already sizable Jeremy Jordan bandwagon. If Jordan fits the leading man archetype, then fellow show newbie Mientus — who made a pop with last spring’s criminally undervalued Carrie and has been a solidly ascending young ingénue since his Spring Awakening tour days — will no doubt be the adorable, quiet, sensitive one. Meanwhile, Rodriguez remains one of Broadway’s hottest firecrackers, delivering impeccably nuanced performances in In The Heights and The Addams Family. If Katharine McPhee’s biggest flaw is that she bores audiences, then I expect that Rodriguez — a fine character actress and a stunning talent — will do just the opposite as Karen's new roomie.
Older Yet Still-Talented Broadway Stars!
It’s not just new blood. Smash has long indulged in Broadway cameos, and despite being mostly ignored and under-lauded, some of theatre’s highest-caliber stars continue to deliver in bit roles. Did you know that Ann Harada, who plays Linda the stage manager, has a set of killer pipes that she displayed to hilarious degree as the original Christmas Eve in Avenue Q? Or that Norbert Leo Butz, who briefly popped up in a performance during Ivy’s drug meltdown, is a two-time Best Leading Actor in a Musical Tony Award winner (and my personal favorite stage vet)? Handfuls of theatre stars are being used to perfection, and I only hope that audiences perk up next season and notice the top-notch performances being given by some of Broadway’s biggest heavyweight names.
Optimism aside, there are quite a few interesting things cooking in the new crockpot that is currently Smash. Can't you see the signs? When you drop despised characters, add hot young sex appeal and de-scarf Debra Messing all in one move, there's bound to be some changes. The network has shown faith to the drama, as have audiences. Could the show go from being a guilty pleasure that you can't help but watch to one that you absolutely can't miss? With his brilliant new decisions thus far (it's only July!), showrunner Safran may actually stand to turn Smash into the rightful smash it deserves to be.
Follow @MarcSnetiker on Twitter!
[Photo Credit: NBC; Joseph Marzullo/WENN.com]
2012 Emmy Longshots: 'Smash' Singing Sensation Megan Hilty
Uma Thurman Joins NBC's Musical Drama 'Smash'
Jennifer Hudson Joins 'Smash': New Details of Her Exciting RoleSmash