BOMBSHELL to Make a 'Smash' Onstage; BWW Looks Back on How It All Began
As BWW previously reported, following the explosive and well-received Actors Fund benefit that featured the music of BOMBSHELL from the NBC television series SMASH, Universal Stage Productions has begun development on BOMBSHELL as a musical for the stage. The announcement was made by Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, and Jimmy Horowitz, President of Universal Pictures, who run Universal Stage Productions together.
To celebrate the news, BWW brings you a SMASH retrospective, from inception to TV series to benefit concert to stage! Travel back in time with this look back on how it all began!
2009: Based on an idea that Steven Spielberg had been working on for years, development begins at Showtime by then current Showtime entertainment president Robert Greenblatt (described as a "devoted theater geek") and Spielberg. The original idea for the show was that each season would focus on the development of a new musical. If any proved "stage-worthy" Spielberg would go on to turn them into actual Broadway productions. The title SMASH came from Garson Kanin's novel of the same name, although the story lines had little in common.
Early 2011: Greenblatt becomes president of NBC Entertainment and brings the project along with his new post. Theresa Rebeck is recommended by executive producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron and is named series creator. She goes on to pen the pilot script.
Early 2011: NBC orders production of a SMASH pilot for their television season.
May 2011: NBC picks the project up to series and announces a mid-season premiere, to be paired with musical competition series 'The Voice' on Monday nights.
August 2011: NBC announces SMASH will premiere on February 6, 2012, the night after SUPER BOWL XLVI. Greenblatt announces that 15 episodes will be produced for its freshman season.
SMASH HITS THE AIRWAVES
February 6, 2012: Season One premieres and follows the Broadway writing team of Julia Houston (Debra Messing) and Tom Levitt (Christian Borle), who come up with the idea of a new musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, to be titled BOMBSHELL. Also in the cast, Anjelica Huston as lead producer Eileen Rand, difficult but brilliant director Derek Wills (Jack Davenport), Megan Hilty's Ivy Lynn, the workshop's original 'Marilyn', and Katharine McPhee's Karen Cartwright, a talented but naive ensemble member who quickly becomes Ivy's main competitor in the quest for the lead role.
February 7, 2012: NBC reports that the series premiere of SMASH is a ratings hit. The show brings in 11.5 million viewers with a 3.8 rating in the all-important 18-49 demographic. Los Angeles Times Television Critic Mary McNamara is among those offering critical praise, writing, "SMASH is a triumph!" (Read review in full here)
March 22, 2012: NBC renews SMASH for a second season. The series ranks as the network's No. 1 drama in the advertiser's coveted adults 18-49 demographic as well as in total viewers.
April 2012: GOSSIP GIRL showrunner Josh Safran replaces creator Theresa Rebeck as new showrunner of the series. Rebeck, who stepped down from the helm the month before, is expected to stay on as a writer and executive producer for the show's sophomore season.
January 2013: NBC and Columbia Records announce that the soundtrack for BOMBSHELL will be released on February 12.
February 5, 2013: Season Two premieres and focuses on the future of the fictional Broadway-bound BOMBSHELL, now struggling with both legal and creative troubles. Karen meets two aspiring friends and partners (Andy Mientus, Jeremy Jordan) and tries to get their new musical 'Hit List', noticed by Derek.
February 6, 2013: Ratings for the season premiere are in and the news is not what NBC hopes for. The show opens its sophomore season with just 4.5 million total viewers and a 1.1 demo rating, plunging 25 and 39 percent from its freshman finale, both marking series lows.
March 2013: Following continued disappointing ratings, NBC announces that the show will move to Saturday nights, beginning April 6, 2013.
April 2013: As ratings continue to slide with each new episode, fans of the series rally to show their support. SMASH wins E! Online's "Save One Show" 2013 competition, with nearly half of the overall vote. Showrunner Safran tells the site: "We're thrilled and honored to win Save One Show. We love our fans and are extremely grateful for their incredible support!" In addition, a grassroots group calling themselves "Don't Cancel SMASH" begins a Facebook page which garners more than 19,000 followers in just a few short weeks.
May 10, 2013: Despite strong fan support, NBC officially cancels the show. Safran announces the final episode of Season Two will function as the series finale.
May 26, 2013: NBC moves SMASH to Sunday night and airs the two-hour Series Finale.
THE REUNION CONCERT
December 18, 2014: Actors Fund confirms reports that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will produce a one-night-only concert presentation of BOMBSHELL, the Marilyn Monroe musical from SMASH, as a benefit for The Actors Fund on June 15, 2015 at New York City's Minskoff Theatre. Set to appear are Christian Borle, Will Chase, Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee and Debra Messing, who will be joined by Jaime Cepero, Brian d'Arcy James, Ann Harada, Jeremy Jordan, Donna McKechnie, Leslie Odom, Jr., and Wesley Taylor. Among the numbers to be performed are the Emmy-nominated songs "Let Me Be Your Star," and "Hang the Moon." Read the story in full here!
April 13, 2015: Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announce that tickets for the upcoming concert presentation sold out in just over one hour. (Read the story in full here.) In addition, the Kickstarter campaign for the event has racked up a whopping $318,120.
June 10, 2015: Just two days after the one-night only concert event, the composer/lyricist team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman talk to the Los Angeles Times about the possibility of expanding BOMBSHELL into a full-fledged Broadway musical. For now, though, their sights are set on an encore in Hollywood. "I would love to do this at the Hollywood Bowl," said Wittman. "That would definitely be appropriate. Marilyn comes home." Read the story in full here.
FULL 'BOMBSHELL' STAGE SHOW ANNOUNCED
June 22, 2015: Following the explosive and well-received Actors Fund benefit, Universal Stage Productions begins development on BOMBSHELL as a musical for the stage. The announcement is made by Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, and Jimmy Horowitz, President of Universal Pictures, who run Universal Stage Productions together. Read the story in full here
RECURRING AND GUEST STARRING Appearances
Throughout its two year run, SMASH attracted some of the biggest names in showbiz. Check out the A-listers who appeared in recurring and guest starring roles:
Jeremy Jordan - Jimmy Collins
Andy Mientus - Kyle Bishop
Krysta Rodriguez - Ana Vargas
Jaime Cepero- Ellis Tancharoen
Raza Jaffrey - Dev Sundaram
Brian d'Arcy James - Frank Houston
Leslie Odom Jr. - Sam Strickland
Will Chase - Michael Swift
Ann Harada - Linda
Joshua Bergasse - Josh (Choreographer)
Wesley Taylor - Bobby
Guest Starring Roles:
Jesse L. Martin - Scott Nichols
Bernadette Peters - Leigh Conroy
Uma Thurman - Rebecca Duvall
Sean Hayes - Terry Falls
Jennifer Hudson - Veronica Moore
Nick Jonas - Lyle West
Rosie O'Donnell- Herself
Margo Martindale - Miriam Abramson
Liza Minnelli - Herself
Norbert Leo Butz - Himself
Ron Rifkin - Himself
Harvey Fierstein - Himself
Lin-Manuel Miranda - Himself
Week after week, SMASH fans were treated to spectacular performances by Broadway's top stars. Check out a sampling below:
Megan Hilty performs "They Just Keep Moving The Line" from the episode 'The Fallout'
Megan Hilty and Will Chase perform BOMBSHELL number "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" in Season One:
Jeremy Jordan (as Jimmy Collins) performs "The Love I Meant to Say" in Season 2's 'The Phenomenon' episode:
Krysta Rodriguez performs "Reach For Me" in Season 2 of the show:
THE SHOWS WITHIN A SHOW:
BOMBSHELL Musical Numbers
"Let Me Be Your Star" - Norma Jeane Mortenson
"At Your Feet" - Gladys, young Norma Jeane, Tourists and Hollywood Citizens
"Smash!" - Aspiring Actresses
"Never Give All the Heart" - Norma Jeane
"The National Pastime" - Marilyn and New York Yankees
"History is Made at Night" - Marilyn, Joe DiMaggio and Lovers
"I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn't Love to Howl" - Marilyn and Troops
"Mr. & Mrs. Smith" - Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio
"Don't Say Yes Until I Finish Talking" - Darryl F. Zanuck and Studio Executives
"On Lexington & 52nd Street" - Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn, Reporter and New York Citizens
"Cut, Print...Moving On" - Marilyn and Studio Staff
"Public Relations" - Marilyn and Press
"Dig Deep" - Marilyn, Lee Strasberg and Students
"Second Hand White Baby Grand" - Marilyn
"They Just Keep Moving the Line" - Marilyn
"Let's Be Bad" - Marilyn and the cast of Some Like It Hot
"The Right Regrets" - Arthur Miller
"Our Little Secret" - John F. Kennedy and Marilyn
"Hang the Moon" - Gladys and Marilyn
"Don't Forget Me" - Marilyn
HIT LIST Musical Numbers
"Broadway Here I Come (Pre-reprise)" - The Diva
"Rewrite This Story" - Amanda and Jesse
"Good For You" - Amanda
"Broadway Here I Come - Amanda
"The Love I Meant To Say" - Jesse
"Reach For Me" - The Diva
"Original" - Amanda
"The Love I Meant To Say (Reprise)" - Amanda (as "Nina")
"I Heard Your Voice In a Dream" - Jesse
"Don't Let Me Know" - Amanda (as "Nina")and Jesse
"Pretender" - Amanda (as "Nina")
"I'm Not Sorry" - Amanda (as "Nina") and The Diva
"I Heard Your Voice In a Dream" - Jesse
"Caught In a Storm" - Jesse
"[TBD Coming Home Song]" - The Diva (as "Sara Smith")
"Good For You" - Amanda (as "Nina")
"Heart-Shaped Wreckage" - Amanda and Jesse
"Broadway Here I Come (Reprise)" - Amanda
"The Love I Meant To Say (Reprise)" - Jesse
"The Goodbye Song" - Jesse, Amanda, The Diva and Ensemble
Photos by: Will Hart/Craig Blankenhorn/NBC