Marilyn Monroe is brought to life on Broadway in CTV's new show, 'Smash'
We all know making it in the entertainment biz is not easy, but in CTV’s new show “Smash,” the reality of the struggles and occasional triumphs, are brought centre stage.
“Part of the appeal of ‘Smash’ (is) that you will be able to see untapped beautiful actresses and see their struggle and also it’s almost like the ‘Wizard of Oz,’ looking behind the curtain,” says actress, Debra Messing who plays celebrated Broadway writer Julia Houston during the CTV Upfronts.
An advance screening of the first full episode of “Smash” is available online at CTV.ca, beginning Friday, Feb. 3 at 6 a.m. ET and running until Sunday, Feb. 5 at 12 midnight PT. On Monday, Feb. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on, viewers can watch “Smash's” official opening night on CTV.
Though Messing’s character has recently stepped away from writing to focus on adopting a child from China, she can’t resist starting a Broadway hit about the iconic American actress and sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe.
“She is really fascinating and complicated and I actually think a perfect subject of a musical,” reflects Messing. “I think she will always and forever be a source of fascination.”
Vying to play Marilyn are veteran actress, Ivy, played by Broadway actress, Megan Hilty, and up-and-coming new star Karen, played by “American Idol” alumni Katharine McPhee.
Just as Marilyn transformed from Norma Jeane Mortenson to the iconic sex symbol, Karen shows up at the audition as the only brunette who didn’t dress up as the sexy star. She’s a small town Iowa girl trying to make it big in the Big Apple.
“I think everyone loves an underdog,” Messing reflects. “Everyone loves someone to root for when the odds are against them and with shows like ‘American Idol,’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and other shows like that where discovering fresh, pure magical talent that otherwise would be unseen is thrilling and is thrilling to be on that ride.”
The creative process rules the show, and it traces the evolution of the production from the writers’ first scribblings, to the agonizingly long audition process where Karen blows the creative team away with her original tune, to the first few dance rehearsals (where the Joe DiMaggio-inspired baseball number moves seamlessly from in-studio rehearsals to full lights-and-stage production – emulating the writers’ and directors’ creative vision).
“‘Smash’ is earnest. ‘Smash’ is naturalistic. ‘Smash’ is organic,” Messing says.
Though Messing is known for her TV role from “Will and Grace,” she admits musicals have always been of interest to her. “My dream when I was growing up in Rhode Island was to be a Broadway musical actress,” she reveals.
“I took lots of dancing lessons and I sang and I was in a lot of musicals. I’m thrilled to be working in a world that is so pure and joyous and brings me back to the root of why I wanted to be an actress to begin with.
“Then to be able to sing amongst all these people in this kind of venue . . . it’s going to be heaven.”
CTV.ca will have an exclusive advance digital screening of the first full episode of “Smash” on Super Bowl weekend, beginning Friday, Feb. 3 at 6 a.m. ET and running until Sunday, Feb. 5 at 12 midnight PT.
When the curtain comes down on the advance screening, viewers can then enjoy 'Smash's' official opening night Monday, Feb. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV.
About Lindsay Zier-Vogel
Lindsay Zier-Vogel has been working for CTV.ca since 2008. In addition to interviewing the famed American choreographer Bill T. Jones and Canadian prima ballerina Karen Kain, Lindsay’s highlights include criss-crossing Canada on four SYTYCDC audition tours and covering the Juno Awards. Follow her on Twitter!