By Nora Dominick ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Assistant Stage Editor
Smash lives on once again. Right on the heels of the highly praised Bombshell in Concert to support the Actors Fund, NBC Entertainment and Universal Pictures is reportedly working to turn the Marilyn Monroe biopic musical, Bombshell, into a musical for the stage.
Robert Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment, and Jimmy Horowitz, President of Universal Pictures, made the announcement. The June 8th benefit concert in NYC sold out in less than an hour and was one of the most highly anticipated events of the summer Broadway season. The New Yorker proclaimed that Bombshell is “the best Broadway musical that doesn’t exist.” The benefit concert reunited most of the NBC TV series cast, the executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, choreographer, Joshua Bergasse and included the incredible music by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.
In the announcement made by NBC Entertainment and Universal Pictures by Greenblatt he stated, “There is a still a lot of love for Smash and a rabid fan base out there, and we’re thrilled to be able to keep the dream alive as we work towards bringing Bombshell to theatre audiences.” He went on to say, “Smash was ambitious because every episode was a complicated musical for television and we also built the foundation of the musical-within-the-musical about Marilyn’s endlessly fascinating and tumultuous life. Over the course of two seasons an entire Bombshell score was written to service Smash storylines, and now that show will have a chance to stand on its own.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, executive producers Zadan and Meron spoke to the news stating, “We are so thrilled that Smash isn’t over and that Bombshell gets to live on… The Emmy-nominated songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, including the iconic ‘Let Me Be Your Star,’ are every bit the caliber of their Tony and Grammy winning Broadway work. The Actors Fund benefit reinforced how alive this material is on stage and how much the audience wants to see the Marilyn Monroe musical in its entirety.”
A Marilyn Monroe musical has been seen on Broadway once before; in 1983 the short-lived Marilyn: An American Fable played 34 previews and 17 performances.
Created by Theresa Rebeck, Smash premiered on NBC in February 2012 and follows a group of Broadway producers, actors and crew members trying to get a new musical to Broadway. The show quickly gained a Broadway fan base and featured a large ensemble cast made up of TV, Film and Broadway veterans. Season one of Smash centered on Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) and Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty) vying for the leading role of Marilyn Monroe in Bombshell. The new musical was headed by renowned lyricist Julia Houston (Debra Messing), her composer partner Tom Levitt (Christian Borle), the playboy director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport) and the tenacious producer Eileen Rand (Anjelica Huston).
As the TV show grew in popularity so did the scope of the storylines. Season two of Smash introduced a Rent-esque musical Hit List vying for a position on Broadway with working-class lyricist Jimmy Collins (Jeremy Jordan) and an ambitious writer from Brooklyn, Kyle Bishop (Andy Mientus). Smash sadly ended its run on NBC after two seasons in 2013, but Broadway fans refused to let it sink that easily.
Since the shows cancellation on NBC in 2013, Smash has lived on in various places in the NYC theater circuit. The adoration of fans has caused the incomparable music such as “Let Me Be Your Star” and “The 20th Century Fox Mambo,” to live on through the immeasurable cast recording and score by Shaiman and Wittman. Bombshell in Concert was held on June 8, 2015 and raised $800,000 for the Actors Fund and was delivered to a sold-out audience. Prior to Bombshell in Concert, the season 2 musical Hit List was presented at Broadway’s supper club 54 Below and featured the music from Smash by Pasek and Paul.
No casting was announced following this Bombshell musical announcement and no one from the original cast of Smash has signed onto the project yet. Until further information is released, fans can start singing “Broadway Here I Come” and “Let Me Be Your Star” at full volume because Smash lives on and is better than ever.