‘Smash’ Musical ‘Bombshell’ in Development for Stage

“Bombshell,” the musical-within-the-TV-series that originated as part of the Broadway-themed NBC series “Smash,” is on its way toward a future life onstage, with Universal Stage Prods. putting the property in development as a legitimate musical.

The co-heads of Universal Stage Prods., NBC Entertainment chair Robert Greenblatt and Universal Pictures president Jimmy Horowitz, were encouraged in part by the raucous enthusiasm fans showed for “Bombshell” in a one-night-only concert presentation in New York, as part of an Actors Fund benefit. Still, a final product is likely a long ways off, given that the musical bio of Marilyn Monroe currently has lots of catchy songs — courtesy of “Hairspray” songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who penned the tunes for the TV series — but no book with which to string them together.

At the benefit performance, songs were interspersed with text taken from the writings of Marilyn Monroe and of those who knew her. The staging also featured a number of fully choreographed dance numbers from choreographer Joshua Bergasse, who since working on “Smash” has become a Broadway regular, with shows last season including “On The Town” and “Gigi.”

Bergasse will choreograph the stage version, with a director and a book writer for the show still to be announced. Whether Shaiman and Wittman, whose “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” is targeting Broadway next season, will write new songs for the stage version isn’t yet clear, although it seems likely.

Although the original cast of the TV series — including recent Tony winner Christian Borle as well as Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty alternating in the role of Marilyn — appeared in the concert version earlier this month, none of them are attached to the brewing stage production.

Universal Stage Prods. made no mention of Broadway as the specific end goal for “Bombshell,” but it’s certainly among the likeliest scenarios for what seems sure to be a large-scale musical production.

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, the Hollywood stalwarts who produced “Smash” and who also produce on Broadway (“Promises, Promises,” “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”), will lead the producing team of “Bombshell.” Steven Spielberg, the executive producer of the TV show, will also be involved in the stage version. Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank, exec producers of “Smash” and co-presidents of Amblin Television, also will be on the stage musical’s producing team.

“Bombshell” joins a slate of Universal Stage Prods. projects that also includes “The Sting,” “Animal House” and “Back to the Future.”

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