When Smash introduces its new playwrights in season two, they are young and energetic and really just starting out in the business but with bright futures ahead of them-- if they can meet the right people and get the right breaks. And it is all thanks to Kyle (Andy Mientus) that their often-talked-about dreams are actually on the verge of becoming a reality. But it doesn't come without a price potentially larger than any gains.
"The relationship between Kyle and Jimmy is fascinating, especially I think for a network show. It’s fresh and exciting to tell, and you really get a lot of it. It’s not all about the musical," Mientus said to LA TV Insider Examiner when we caught up with him in Los Angeles last month.
But Mientus noted that the conflict over what happens with their musical is "huge" and "really the spine of our characters" for the first part of their arc. Kyle befriends Karen (Katharine McPhee) after she steps into their bar and overhears Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan) playing one of his originals. She lets Derek (Jack Davenport) in on these untapped talents, and the three-- Karen, Derek, and Kyle-- want to move forward and make something happen with the show, but Jimmy is dragging his heels.
"They’ve been friends for a really long time, and this is the first thing in awhile that comes between them. You see in the second half of the premiere a party scene, and it lets you really see our world—our street clothes, our friends—the party becomes a means to promote the musical, but you also get to see just how they are in their down time and how they are with each other. Kyle is very passionate and believes in what he’s doing; he sees the one fleeting chance to make something happen, but Jimmy's work is very private," Mientus said.
"For Kyle, it would be a dream come true [to have a show take off]; it’s all he’s ever wanted, and he’s been looking for a way in forever—a way to sort of rise above his meager Brooklyn life. For Kyle it would be incredible. For Jimmy, it might be too much to have his diary exposed to the world, and that would affect their friendship. There’s a lot of potential for great joy and great tension."
Having a show start to get workshopped would certainly put Jimmy and Kyle on the radar of the who's who of New York's theater scene, potential inspirations and mentors, Tom (Christian Borle) and Julia (Debra Messing) included. Mientus shared that the worlds of the writers will collide in a "rare move for Smash" but that contrary to what you might assume, the advice and aid Kyle and Jimmy are given is genuine and helpful.
"I think it’s a nice story, because I think it could be easy for people to watch the first season and not know anything about the Broadway world and just assume everyone is out to get each other and is backstabbing and stabby, but it’s really not like that. Everyone is really supportive, and everyone really cares about this niche struggle art form. We’re all in it together," Mientus said.
Smash airs on NBC on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m.
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