'Smash, A New Musical' is headed to Broadway, based on the NBC series

Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Entertainment News

"Smash" lasted only two seasons on NBC. But it was announced Thursday morning that the variously reviled and adored television show about the cutthroat world of Broadway musicals is to become a Broadway musical itself.

Like the TV show, which ran from 2012-13, the planned musical will involve the producers Steven Spielberg, Robert Greenblatt and Neil Meron. And the score will be penned by the Broadway veterans Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who presumably will draw from some of the 24 songs they wrote for the small-screen version of "Smash," a road-to-Broadway drama that imagined two competitive actors, played by Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty, fighting each other for the chance to play the lead role in a musical about Marilyn Monroe.

Shot in New York, the TV show used a variety of Broadway personalities, from actors like Christian Borle to columnists like Michael Riedel. But the musical, which has neither a theater nor a firm date, will also use additional talents to ease its transition to Broadway. The musical's book will be co-written by Bob Martin ("The Drowsy Chaperone") and Rick Elice ("Jersey Boys," "Peter and the Starcatcher"). The choreographer Joshua Bergasse, who worked on the TV show to often spectacular effect, will reprise that role for the stage musical.

Notably missing from the Broadway plan is the writer Theresa Rebeck, who created the TV series but left under acrimonious circumstances following the first season.

The announcement is not a surprise, although many had assumed that the show-within-the-show, "Bombshell," would become a live spin-off, as the composers seemingly first intended. "Bombshell" was seen live in 2015 in a concert-style format and was recently streamed as a fundraiser for the Actors Fund.

But despite being abruptly canceled, "Smash" went on to become some of a cult favorite among young Broadway fans especially and thus a viable brand. The producers said Thursday that the musical would "depart liberally" from the TV show, although it would still follow a similar road-to-opening-night trajectory.


Casting has not yet been determined.

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