Those of you familiar with my blogging style know that this post isn’t going to focus on the technical merits of NBC’s Smash. Let’s look instead at what makes this particular television dramusical worthy of its place in the industry.
Here are the Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Smash:
10. Validation that I was right in voting for Katharine McPhee during American Idol – I missed the episode when Kat initially auditioned but as soon as I heard her sing I knew instantly that this girl had a gift. Her voice fit many genres and always proved what I believe great talent can accomplish; she made singing look effortless. I am so happy to see her receive the attention that Smash has brought because it’s rightly earned and warranted.
9. Introduced the non-theatre world to Megan Hilty and her amazing talent – I first heard about Ms. Hilty from reading the various Broadway news websites. She had received critical praise for her work as G(a)linda in Wicked and was cast in the new Broadway musical 9 to 5; along with the amazing talents of Stephanie J. Block, Allison Janney and Marc Kudish. Smash introduced Megan to the rest of the entertainment industry and they responded with much praise and excitement. If nothing more, this show proved that musical theatre performers not only have amazing vocal ability but incredible acting prowess too!
8. I have to remind myself on a weekly basis that Smash is NOT actually on Broadway – Because I’d pay regular price to see that on stage. And most likely more than once. The incredible (and original) songs from composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman balance classic Broadway ballads like “History is Made at Night” with show-stopping dance numbers like “Public Relations” all the while convincing the viewing public that an actual Broadway musical is being created. Based on what they’ve brought to fruition, I only hope that one day “Bombshell” actually arrives on Broadway.
7. “They Just Keep Moving the Line” – Written by the genius team of Shaiman/Wittman and performed by Megan Hilty, this powerhouse song gives me chills every time I hear it. It’s a song that generations of young people will perform for years to come – at auditions, talent shows, and belting out in their cars on a beautiful summer day. And I’m not just talking about me!
6. “Don’t Forget Me” – The most played song on my playlist. When Katharine McPhee performed this 11th hour number on the season 1 finale I had to re-watch it numerous times. Because it’s just flat-out amazing! I could completely see this song performed on stage 8 times a week and succeed in bringing the house to their feet in raucous applause. Not only was this a fitting close to the premier season but a mantra that so many of us can relate to . “There are some in this world who have strength of their own/Never broken or in need of repair/But there are some born to shine who can’t do it alone/So protect them and take special care.”
5. Brings the world of musical theatre into homes across the country – for those who don’t get to travel out to NYC to see a Broadway show this television program brought the show to them. This is the only television show that I can think of that is specifically theatre-centric. There are other shows out there that feature music (and I am very thankful and appreciative for them) but Smash gives us incredible talent, entertaining musical numbers and a window into a world that not many get to experience.
4. Just as the characters’ journeys are developing so too is the show’s – The first season of Smash was honored this past winter with a Golden Globe nomination for Best Television Show – Musical or Comedy. It was up against some steep competition and didn’t win but the fact that it received a nomination proved what I already knew to be true. Season one started off great and the story was only going to get better. I love the premise…that there are two remarkably talented young ladies, both vying for the same role. Both of them equally talented yet offering something different. We saw them struggle, hope, dream and ultimately have to face naysayers in order to move ahead. Whether you’re Team Karen of Team Ivy the point is that these two characters drive the show forward.
3. It’s not a show about cops, lawyers, hospitals or reality-programming – the closest comparison to Smash is Glee but only because they are both about music. Other than that they differ in every other way possible, yet are equally needed in television. As television viewers we’re inundated with the same old stories and unoriginal programming, Smash gives us something unique. Something fresh. And something much needed. Losing that will create a gaping hole in this medium. So while season 2’s ratings have been significantly lower than expected/hoped I implore NBC and Smash’s fans to support a show that has so much promise.
2. A love affair with Broadway – set and filmed in New York City, Smash pays tribute to the incredible talent that exists there. The cast incorporates well-known and beloved actors from the world of Hollywood (Debra Messing, Katharine McPhee, Angelica Huston) with respected Broadway names (Christian Borle, Megan Hilty, Jeremy Jordan, Will Chase, Brian D’Arcy James). The frequent scenes in Times Square makes me smile and think back to the last time I was there to see a show. I see a restaurant or deli that looks like a nice place to have lunch next time I visit. But mostly, it treats the world of musical theatre with respect and appreciation. It shows both the highlights and the struggles that artists face whether you’re a playwright, producer or cast member.
1. Amazing vocal talent – If this post leaves you with nothing else, may you remember this…Smash has gifted us with incredible performances from a range of brilliant talent. Some of which I’ll list off here; Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Jeremy Jordan, Leslie Odom Jr., Will Chase, Krysta Rodriguez, Andy Mientus, Wesley Taylor, and Savannah Wise. They are all phenomenal performers whose sheer talent amazes me. While I sincerely hope that we continue to see them each week I hope that whatever the future holds for them is bright!
For all of you out there who love Smash as much as I do, please share this post with friends and family. Please write your own top ten reasons, post video blogs or take to social media. I’m not ready for Smash’s journey to come to a close quite yet. They’ve given us so much to treasure so let’s show our support. They need it now more than ever!