SMASH Lives On!
Updated: Jul 2, 2020
It has been a wonderful week for fans of the television show SMASH!
This week, People.com aired Bombshell in Concert live for the very first time. This one-night only, livestreamed event is the professionally filmed concert from 2015’s sold-out performance. This event includes performances of songs from the hit television show SMASH by the starry cast, including Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee, Will Chase, Christian Borle, and more! Not only will the concert be streamed, but during intermission, People hosted a cast reunion to discuss the concert and SMASH itself. The entire evening is to benefit The Actor’s Fund.
SMASH originally aired on NBC in 2012 and ran for two seasons. It tells the story of the creation of a musical, Bombshell (based on the life of Marilyn Monroe), from the audition room all the way to Broadway. This drama was full of twists and turns, but part of its charm was the original musical number presented weekly.
Following the concert, it was announced that SMASH is being adapted for the Broadway stage.
I am a huge SMASH fan, I watched the show weekly, downloaded the music, bought the series on DVD, and bawled like a baby when it was cancelled. Even going on eight years later, the opportunity to view this exclusive concert was a dream.
This tv show was truly a cult classic. Maybe it didn’t run very long, but it had a large fan base and a lot of heart. I think the reaction to this concert being released speaks volumes to the popularity of SMASH.
Bombshell in Concert brought back so many wonderful memories of the tv show and even included a reunion of the cast at intermission. While the plot of the show isn’t mentioned directly in the concert, it is lovingly hinted at. First off, there is the chemistry between Debra Messing and Christian Borle, who opened the show. Tom and Julia were probably my favourite characters on the show and seeing these actors play together was a fun throwback! Ann Harada, who played Linda the patient and beloved stage manager for Bombshell also made an appearance and finally got her moment! The encore was even a number straight from the series finale with Megan Hilty (Ivy Lynn) and Katharine McPhee (Karen Cartwright) leaving us wanting more!
As Bombshell had no book (a problem heavily referenced on SMASH), the songs were spaced out with readings from Marilyn herself and those who knew her. For me, this really highlighted one of my favourite things about the show – How it treated Marilyn Monroe. In a television show with as much going on as this drama, it would’ve been easy to slack in this part of the story. However, SMASH fully committed to honouring Marilyn’s legacy, and this concert became a loving tribute to her life as well.
Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman truly outdid themselves in writing the music for Bombshell. This live concert was a wonderful opportunity to showcase their splendid work outside of the weekly drama SMASH never failed to deliver. All of the songs they have written are lush, full of story, heart and genuine understanding of the characters they were writing for. Delivering these incredible songs are the talented cast members, and the concert included performances from Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee, Jeremy Jordan, and Christian Borle. I won’t talk about every single number in the show, but I do want to share some of my favourites.
The opening instrumental to Let Me Be Your Star always has me teary-eyed. It is such a powerful “I Want” song, and clearly outlines both SMASH and Bombshell. What’s so amazing about Shaiman and Wittman is how they balance both ballads and uptempo songs – both styles are equally intricate. The National Pastime is catchy, hilarious and full of innuendo, while Secondhand White Baby Grand tells a complete, moving story.
I’ve been wanting Season Three or Bombshell as a stage show for a very long time, but SMASH on the Broadway stage is something equally exciting.
Naturally, we don’t know when we will be allowed to return to the theatres, but something about the timing of this announcement feels like something right from the plot of this show.
If anyone needs me, I will be starting my SMASH re-watch immediately!
For more SMASH, check out this piece on Break A Leg!