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FLASH FRIDAY: Don't Forget Me! SMASH Blasts Back To Broadway In BOMBSHELL Actors Fund Concert

Today we are celebrating the return of SMASH thanks to the big BOMBSHELL Actors Fund Concert on June 8.

Let Me Be Your Star

It would take several columns such as this one to recount all of the drama, comedy, tragedy, ecstasy and general lore surrounding NBC's musical dramedy series SMASH, which ran on the peacock network from 2012-2013, clocking two seasons before being cancelled at the close of Season Two. What started as a hotly anticipated and highly viewed series shepherded by no less than multi-hyphenate Hollywood hotshot Steven Spielberg failed to live up to its lofty promise in the final reel - but what glories existed and continue to live on thanks to DVD, streaming and social media. Featuring the talents of Tony Award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman writing the songs, Theresa Rebeck creating the series and penning many episodes along with a cast outfitted with Broadway's best and brightest - Megan Hilty, Christian Borle, Brian D'Arcy James, Ann Harada and more among them - also outfitted Hollywood names such as Emmy Award winner Debra Messing, Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston and AMERICAN IDOL standout Katharine McPhee - SMASH eventually lost a significant amount of viewers as the first 15 episodes of the series played out each week, causing NBC head honcho Robert Greenblatt to bring in a new showrunner to steer the ship for a rebooted and rethought Season Two.

Subsequently, the second chapter of SMASH showcased not only the various onstage and backstage goings-on pertaining to a brand new mainstage musical based on the life and legend of Marilyn Monroe titled BOMBSHELL but also shifted focus to include a predominant plotline pertaining to a contemporary musical penned by young upstarts portrayed by actual Broadway notables Jeremy Jordan and Andy Mientus titled HIT LIST. Additionally, the second season explored more musicals than the first, with production numbers from a DANGEROUS LIAISONS-inspired screen-to-stage adaptation titled LIAISONS! and moments from a star vehicle ostensibly included to showcase guest star and DREAMGIRLS Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, as well, who also appeared on a handful of episodes during that time. Nonetheless, all the worthy effort to rejigger the enterprise went unrewarded, ultimately, with the series reaching record lows and eventually getting the boot by the time the finale aired on May 10, 2013.

Now, with a one-night-only reunion concert featuring virtually the entire cast of the series coming up on June 8 to benefit The Actors Fund, suddenly SMASH is the name on every Broadway baby's lips once again - and, more to the point, the main musical-within-the-series, BOMBSHELL, which is the subject of the concert event. Of course, Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee famously shared the role on the series - with the occasional other purveyor of the part, as well (remember Uma Thurman?) - and the same will be the case for the concert, although this week's announcement of several more starry and recognizable additions to the cast implies that we will see some show regulars take on some characters and croon some tunes we have not yet heard them do before - and, if only for that, the BOMBSHELL event is generating much interest and attention on top of its already sold-out status. Will Brian D'Arcy James portray JFK? Will Jeremy Jordan sing some Joe DiMaggio? What about Tony-winning legend Donna McKechnie taking on the role of Marilyn's mother, played on the series by fellow icon Bernadette Peters? The mind boggles at what could come to pass - and what electric moments the creators, cast and crew will manage to conjure up for the lucky crowd in attendance. SMASH may be over, but BOMBSHELL has just started ticking and soon will explode on the stage of the Minskoff Theatre.

For much more on SMASH, check out my InDepth InterView series with the creative team of the BOMBSHELL concert event, including The Actors Fund president Joe Benincasa, available here, producer Tim Pinckney, available here, songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, available here, and co-director/choreographer Joshua Bergasse, available here.

The Twentieth Century FOX Mambo

So, now, let's revisit some of the most unforgettable musical moments from SMASH as we look ahead to BOMBSHELL.

First up, the capper of the pilot that certainly stopped the show, "Let Me Be Your Star".

Next, Megan Hilty hits one out of the park with "The National Pastime".

Now, Katharine McPhee ignites the thrilling finale showpiece "Don't Forget Me".

Following that up is the biggest showstopper in SMASH history, "Let's Be Bad".

Christian Borle rocks a Daryl Zanuck character song stunner in expectedly winning fashion.

Also, Will Chase wows with Joe DiMaggio's impressive "On Lexington & 52nd St.".

Guest star Bernadette Peters makes a musical mark as Marilyn's mom.

Don't miss Megan Hilty's titanically emotional BOMBSHELL ballad, "Second Hand White Baby Grand".

Here is Katharine McPhee's Season Two showstopper "Cut, Print... Moving On".

Megan Hilty soars with the spectacular "They Just Keep Moving The Line".

Of course, Jeremy Jordan made a splash with his character arc. What a stunning introductory song!

Lastly, the legendary Liza Minnelli sums up a life in the theatre - really, what SMASH is all about, too.

As a bonus, check out SMASH's big BOMBSHELL-tastic finish.

So, what is your absolute favorite memory of SMASH? Furthermore, what is your most prized and cherished BOMBSHELL showstopper of them all? With BOMBSHELL on Broadway for one night only in such a spectacular fashion and with such worldwide interest in it, the door has certainly been opened for more SMASH-related events like this in the future - could HIT LIST be next? Stay tuned to this channel for more on the matter as it develops.


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From This Author Pat Cerasaro

Pat Cerasaro contributes exclusive scholarly columns including InDepth InterViews, Sound Off, Theatrical Throwback Thursdays, Flash Friday and Flash Special as well as additional special features, (read more...)