Talk about meta.
“Smash,” the TV series about backstage drama that attracted a rabid but small fanbase when it aired for two seasons on NBC, has inspired an upcoming show that is eyeing a Broadway run. “Smash, A New Musical” is setting its sights on the Great White Way and its mega-watt producing team includes Steven Spielberg, WarnerMedia Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt, and “Chicago” producer Neil Meron.
The Tony and Grammy-winning duo of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who penned over two dozen songs for the television show will provide the score, which will feature many of the songs that popped up on the TV series.
Like the series, the stage show will follow the efforts to mount “Bombshell,” the Broadway musical-within-a-musical about the life of Marilyn Monroe. However, its backers said the plot will also deviate from that of the series. Some characters such as writers Julia and Tom (played by Debra Messing and Christian Borle on the small screen), as well as stars Ivy and Karen (portrayed on TV by Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee) will still be central to the storyline. Other details are being kept under wraps, presumably until opening night.
The musical’s book will be co-written by Tony winner Bob Martin (“The Prom”) and Tony-nominated Rick Elice (“Peter and the Starcatcher”). “Smash’s” Emmy-winning choreographer Joshua Bergasse will reprise his role for the stage musical.
“I am personally thrilled to be a part of this musical and its road to Broadway,” said Spielberg, whose original idea led to the NBC series. “’Smash’ is near and dear to my heart, and it seems fitting that a new musical inspired by what we did on the show would eventually come to the stage. I’m beyond thrilled to be working with this incredible creative team and my producing partners, who began the ‘Smash’ journey with me over ten years ago.”
Among the songs that Shaiman and Wittman wrote for “Smash” that will appear on the in the show is “Let Me Be Your Star.”
“Smash” was well-received by critics when it debuted in 2012, but it was also beset by its own backstage dramas, including clashes between the creative team and the show’s creator Theresa Rebeck that led to her exit. The ratings also declined as the series went on, though that was in part due to a time slot shift between the first and second seasons.
The series’ circle of supporters has expanded since it began appearing on streaming platforms, transforming it into a cult favorite. This won’t be the first time “Smash” has been reconfigured for the stage. The cast performed an elaborate benefit concert of the songs from Bombshell at the Minskoff Theatre in June 2015 which sold out in fifteen minutes. It was filmed but never shown until this week, when it was streamed in its entirety on People.com as a corona virus benefit for The Actors Fund.
Of course, several hurdles remain until “Smash” can come full circle. Namely, Broadway remains closed due to the coronavirus and it’s unclear when it will be safe for theaters to reopen.
Watch the “Smash” reunion and live “Bombshell” performance here.