In watching the previews for all the upcoming shows next season I happened on one that looks extremely promising. It's called “Smash” and has a lot of talent behind and in in front of camera. The show follows the creation of a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, Now for Broadway obsessed we all know this has been done before. In 1983 “Marilyn: An American Fable” opened and closed right away. It starred Alison Reed who some might remember as Cassie in the film version of “A Chorus Line” and would later play the director in the “High School Musical” movies played Marilyn with Scott Bakula as Joe DiMaggio. Hopefully “Smash” will fare better then this show did.
The premise seems to be the creation of a musical from start to finish and very much like the show “Glee” characters will break out into song unlike “Glee” these are all original songs composed by Scott Whittman and Marc Shaiman (Hairspray, Catch Me if You Can.) The show is executive produced by Steven Spielberg, Craig Zadan directed by Michael Mayer and written by Theresa Rebeck. The impressive cast features Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston, Emmy Award winner Debra Messing, Jack Davenport, Broadway veterans Megan Hilty, Brian d'Arcy James, Christian Borle and introducing American Idol runner up Katharine McPhee.
I love and respect the entire cast however as a fan of Mrs. McPhee when she was on Idol, I'm probably more excited about her inclusion on this show then anyone else's.
It's interesting that at the start of the preview they reference what is probably her most famous Idol performance “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” complete with the arms over her head that she would do when she performed this number twice. In the video she also gets to sing Christina Aguilera's “Beautiful” and as another coincidence the moment on the show where she was almost eliminated was for singing “The Voice Within” also by Christina Aguilera and from the same album as “Beautiful.”
On Idol Kat, as many of her fans call her turned in impressive performances of “Since I Don't Have You,” “Think,” “”Come Rain or Come Shine,” “I Have Nothing,” and had a moment with “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.” A number that the original singer KT Turnstall still credits her performance on the show as launching the song unto the charts.
After coming in second Kat kept up an extremely busy profile without achieving the bonafide success many felt she would have. She appeared in films like “The House Bunny,” and “You May Not Kiss the Bride,” television shows like “CSI: NY, ” and “Community” recorded three solo albums while having chart success with the singles “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and “Over It” and did the work shop for the musical “Catch Me If You Can”.
With early critical reviews in a lot of people are banking on “Smash” being a hit for NBC and many people have already singled out the performance of Katharine McPhee as star making. She certainly wouldn't be the first Idol to achieve a larger fan base though something other then music as Jennifer Hudson won an Academy Award first for “Dreamgirls” and then went on to release two successful albums and win a Grammy Award. Judging from the video clip below it certainly seems to highlight her in a way that makes her look like a star. I mean come on, who gets that kind of lighting during an audition? Who get's clips of two songs and then gets to do a sexy tease for a late night cast director while still keeping her morals? I'm also looking forward to a show that I want to watch on Monday nights which usually seems like a night for no TV.
The questions are still out if this concept can last a full season and be what the title asks it to be but if nothing else it's definitely going to bring Katharine McPhee to a wider audience and keep up the star power that she has shown in the past. I can't wait to see what this show has in store for us.
Smash is premiering in January 2012 on Monday nights on NBC.