A "Smash"ing Premiere

Television
by Melissa Silverstein
January 31, 2012 12:30 PM
1 Comment
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While I might write about Hollywood I live in NY.  I really don't get to see the everyday machinations of the business.  I like it that way.  It keeps it more mysterious.

I was able to get a little taste of Hollywood (at least the TV side of the business) when I attended the premiere of Smash last week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I got invited because Theresa Rebeck the creator, executive producer and head writer of the show is my friend. 

If you haven't heard about Smash yet you have not been watching or reading anything over the last couple of weeks.  This is a big show.  It's the show that everyone -- in particular the ailing NBC -- has been wating for, and it will arrive in 10 short days.  (Of course most people have already seen the pilot online.)  I know I'm biased, but even if I didn't know Theresa, I would love it.  I'm a theatre geek, and what this does is take theatre and put it on the screen.  The pilot is so beautiful and so theatrical but it works on TV because the story is ultimately about people and dreams.  And those things are really accessible to all of us. 

People have asked will the country watch the behind the scenes machinations of the making of a Broaday musical?  Well, we watched The West Wing (and this is as smart), and we watched (at least I did) Friday Night Lights (and this has as much heart.)  And the show is also funny cause Theresa is a great comedy writer (ie her hit Broadway show Seminar now running starring Alan Rickman)

Here's a little secret.  The women rule this show.  Check out all the ads: Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing, Katherine McPhee, Megan Hilty. And did I mention Anjelica Huston.  This is her first series role and she kicks ass as the producer desperate to prove herself after her husband leaves her for a younger woman.  She is hungry and she needs a success.  And Katherine McPhee has basically been waiting for the right role since American Idol and this is it.  She is AMAZING.  Blows the lid off the premiere with her rendition of Beautiful.  I totally can't wait to see where all the stories go.

Since I know Theresa I have heard many stories of how hard it is to be a showrunner.  I've had a personal backstage seat to the ups and downs that go into birthing a show like this.  But she does it with much love and the cast and crew and executive admire her greatly as we all saw at the premiere last week. 

This picture should give you a sense of still how lop sided TV is on the gender front.  There are 10 executive producers - one, Theresa, is a woman.  But at the end of the day when the show rolls make sure you notice the created by credit cause it will be a woman's name.

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1 Comment

  • EstherK | January 31, 2012 3:49 PMReply

    Good luck to your friend on this - I admire her achievement and am glad she's getting the respect from the cast and crew. And how exciting for you to attend the premiere!

    I watched the first episode on Hulu, and liked it because of my theater geek proclivities, and I did like that it seemed to feature strong female characters (love Debra Messing and Anjelica Huston, of course). Plus, Katharine's version of "Beautiful" was every bit like its title, and Megan Hilty blew the lid off that number about baseball. What concerns me is that the trailer that followed that first episode seemed to basically just rehash "Black Swan" - two females competing for the lead with a slimeball choreographer (played by Jack Davenport? I mean, love him, but really?), and I'm pretty sure there's some catfighting coming over the Marilyn role that may not paint women in the best light (not that positive PR for women should be the goal over the reality between those two characters, but...). I'll still watch, but I'm wary.

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