Why aren't you watching "Smash"?
For people like me who love musicals, "Smash" was the perfect answer to see a Broadway show every week and not having to leave my couch.
The NBC musical, which debuted last year to good but not stellar ratings, managed to get renewed for a second season.
The initial ratings had a lot to do with the show's lead-in from last season "The Voice." While it debuted with a 3.8 rating last year, without "The Voice" this season's debut was an unimpressive 1.2. For comparison purposes, the popular "Big Bang Theory" got a 6.2 share of the audience the same week as the second season debut of "Smash."
If you like musical, you must see "Smash."
It started out last season pitting two talented singers - "American Idol" first runner-up Katharine McPhee vs. Broadway star Megan Hilty trying to take on the role of Marilyn Monroe in the fictional musical-within-the-show "Bombshell." No, it's not "Glee." This musical has original songs, choreography and was like peeking into the making of a real musical each week.
Then add a lot of behind the scenes drama: they decide they need a name to play the lead so they hire Uma Thurman to take on the role instead of our talented ingenues, lyricist Debra Messing rekindles an old flame with Will Chase, who plays Joe DiMaggio and Oscar winner Angelica Huston balances taking money from her sexy younger boyfriend Thorsten Kaye while trying to rid herself of her "All About Eve" evil assistant Ellis, played by Jamie Cepero. Oh and let's not forget the womanizing director who lets starlets sleep their way to the top.
It's a musical! It's a melodrama! It's life. Now if this doesn't intrigue you, look at "Smash's" resume.
It features more award winning performers from various genres than any show in history. It has Oscar winning Huston and this year has added Oscar and Grammy winning Jennifer Hudson. It also has Tony winners Bernadette Peters (in a small role) and Christian Borle and has Tony nominee Brian d'Arcy James and, new this season, other Tony nominees Jeremy Jordan and Montego Glover. Add McPhee and Hudson's "American Idol" credits and Messing's dances with Emmys and you have a high caliber cast. And those who sing, get to perform original songs by five time Oscar nominee and Tony winning Marc Shaiman. Talk about talent! "Smash" is full of it!
Yet people aren't watching.
NBC seemed to be behind the show. To try to capture a bigger audience, they made some changes including get rid of d'Arcy James (who was under utilized) and Cepero. They also added Jordan and will mix in a few more musicals bound for Broadway this season instead of just "Bombshell" including one that should appeal to a more "glee"full audience.
Yet with these changes and the more youthful appeal (as well as the hot man factor of Jordan and Kaye), "Smash" isn't a smash.
If you can't turn on NBC tonight at 10pm to checkout "Smash," then watch it on-Demand or at www.nbc.com. Also you can give download episodes from last season to watch.
And, like "Glee" you can buy the music the very next day. In fact, they got wise and made a "Bombshell" cast album which is now available for sale.
On another note but still of Broadway interest, I am happy to report that "Submissions Only," the Internet series, will be back for a third season. If you don't know this either, you must watch. Catching this and "Smash" will save you thousands of dollars on airfare to Broadway as it's like being there.
"Submissions"also is a behind the scenes of Broadway show, but this follows a group of actors, agents and casting directors who are casting fictional shows such as "Intersection: The Musical," and "Snuggy: The Musical." Oddly, one of the fictional shows - "Mean Girls: The Musical" - may turn real.
Famous actors make cameos galore and the show makes you laugh from start-to-finish, all within 13-20 minutes. Great show to catch on the fly. You can see it at www.submissionsonly.com and www.youtube.com/submissionsonlytv.