Finally, one of television’s most notorious series will achieve its final form, arguably fulfilling its destiny from the beginning: Smash is coming to Broadway in the 2024-2025 season.
The 2012-2013 NBC musical drama, which starred Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty as dueling actresses competing for the role of Marilyn Monroe in a high-profile stage production, was an object of fascination for viewers, thanks to its sometimes mesmerizing, sometimes bewildering blend of high-octane soap opera and Broadway-ready musical numbers, written by Tony winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
Unfortunately, there weren’t enough of those fascinated viewers to sustain such an incredibly expensive show (and behind-the-scenes drama involving original creator Theresa Rebeck being removed from showrunning duties didn’t help matters), leading to its cancelation after Season 2. Since its original airing, though, the question of adapting said Broadway-ready musical numbers as an actual stage show has arisen, with the show-within-the-show, Bombshell, receiving a full staging for charity in 2015.
However, it’s not Bombshell but Smash which will be making its Broadway debut, as announced by lead producers Robert Greenblatt, Neil Meron, and Steven Spielberg (who were all producers on the original series). Said Spielberg in an official statement: “Smash is near and dear to my heart, and it was always my hope that a musical inspired by the show would eventually come to the stage. We now have an incredible creative team, and I’m looking forward to completing the Smash journey which began with my producing partners over ten years ago.”
Smash will be directed by Tony-winning producer Susan Stroman, who should know something about showbiz satires after Mel Brooks’ The Producers, with a book by experienced pros Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher) & Bob Martin (The Prom, The Drowsy Chaperone). Shaiman and Wittman will be also writing new material for the musical in addition to their original songs from the series.
As I wrote last year, the wild ride that was Smash remains unforgettable, and thus there are many questions an excited Smash fan may be asking with this news, such as if the show incorporate not just show-within-a-show Bombshell, but the Rent-inspired Hit List, as featured in Season 2 — with songs written by another Broadway super-team, Dear Evan Hansen scribes Pasek & Paul? More importantly, will Julia’s Season 1 scarves get their own musical number? How many martinis will be thrown on stage? Will smoothie-poisoning Ellis be swiftly written out like he was in Season 2?
I say, don’t just include Ellis, really let him be your star. Only that way can this show really capture the essence of what Smash was — bugnuts but beautiful.