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Katharine McPhee Named Malaria No More Spokesperson

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Boasting a stellar cast from stage and screen, SMASH stars Emmy award winning actress Debra Messing, Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston, Katharine McPhee, Jack Davenport, Tony Award nominee Christian Borle, Megan Hilty and Tony Award nominee Brian d'Arcy James.

McPhee has added another role to her busy schedule: Malaria No More spokesperson. As the singer and actress told USA Today, she's passionate about the cause. "I have family members who live in Africa. Because of the family that lives there, I know what is happening in these countries, and it seems so silly to me that diseases like malaria are so prevalent when they are entirely preventable. Yet," she added, "Children are still dying every 35 seconds. All you need is to get the word out about the importance of mosquito nets for prevention and help people get to places to get vaccinated or treatment. I want to be a part in helping eradicate this disease by 2015."

McPhee also discussed SMASH, saying that the idea is "New and fresh, to feature life on Broadway, and I arrive on set everyday excited to be doing something different. Broadway is a definite symbol of New York. It's classic New York." However, she stressed that SMASH will not emulate another well-known musical show: "Because it involves music, people want to try and make the Glee comparison," she says, "but it is nothing like what I thought it would be or anything out there on TV."

SMASH centres on the complex and all-consuming process behind the production of an original Broadway musical. Successful songwriting duo and old friends Tom (Borle) and Julia (Messing) reunite to realise their dream of adapting the life story of screen icon Marilyn Monroe into a hit musical; recruiting tenacious producer Eileen (Huston) and brilliant director Derek (Davenport) to bring the production to the stage. Casting of the title role sparks conflict and rivalry between Karen (McPhee), a youthful, inexperienced beauty desperate to find fame in the big city, and Ivy (Hilty), a stage veteran determined to leave the chorus line and finally get her big break. From its genesis, the "Marilyn" project is a rollercoaster ride of dramatic highs and lows for its cast and crew that will culminate on opening night, when the audience will determine whether or not the show is a "Smash".

The show was developed by NBC's Robert Greenblatt, Steven Spielberg, and Broadway producing team Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. Broadway's Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman wrote the music for the show. Michael Mayer directed the project, and playwright Theresa Rebeck penned the script.

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