THE "SMASH" REPORT: Episode 9, Or, Valley of the Dolls and Guys

By Kenneth Jones
04 Apr 2012

Megan Hilty
Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/NBC

TAKING IT TO THE STREETS: Ivy flees from her drug-spiked onstage tumble, rushing into the streets of the midtown theatre district, covering four blocks of territory. We know this because the Shubert (where Heaven on Earth is) sits on 44th and Ivy is next seen on 48th (in the background, you can see the marquee of the Walter Kerr Theatre, which is now home to the dynamite Pulitzer Prize-winning play Clybourne Park). Did we mention that Ivy is still in full costume, dressed as a member of Saint Peter's chorus? Blame it on the pills, of course, but it needs to be made clear here that Broadway performers don't appear on streets or in alleys in costume without getting in some serious trouble with management. (Those kids hawking discount-ticket flyers in Times Square, dressed in costumes suggesting characters from Lysistrata Jones and Chicago, are not cast members; they are marketing hires.) A dozen wardrobe mistresses must have burst into flame watching this episode of "Smash." Chorus boy Dennis (Phillip Spaeth) is shown texting in Shubert Alley in costume between his scenes. It doesn't really happen. Karen, who witnessed the meltdown at the Shubert, is shadowing Ivy in order to return a pair of sunglasses to her rival (don't ask). Ivy says hateful things to Karen on the street, then Karen reveals that she turned down a chance to sleep with Derek before Derek slept with Ivy. This propels Ivy into Times Square, where Karen (in an apparently protective mood) follows her into a liquor store, pays for booze and later shares swigs from a brown paper bag with her enemy. We are not making this up. It leads to an improvised duet of Rihanna's "Cheers (Drink to That)" on Duffy Square (where the TKTS booth is located), featuring street musicians and tourists. This bonding between the ladies is a drunken moment that won't last, but it does hint at a future friendship to be developed down the line.

Christian Borle and Leslie Odom Jr.
photo by Craig Blankenhorn/NBC

TOM AND SAM: Tom and Sam are worried about Ivy, and sit vigil at a diner where they share food and get to know each other better (their common bond is musicals — otherwise, they seem to have as little in common as Tom and his Republican lawyer boyfriend, John, played by Neal Bledsoe). Sports-lovin' Sam's team reference of the week: The Bruins!

JULIA'S AFFAIR REVEALED: In an act of musical deduction not seen since the Sherlock Holmes musical Baker Street, Julia's husband Frank (Brian d'Arcy James) discovers sheet music for a song Julia and Tom wrote about the memory of getting kissed on the Brooklyn Bridge, and Frank decides that it's a confession of infidelity. He confronts Julia, she confesses her affair with actor Michael Swift (Will Chase), Frank punches Michael in the face outside the New York Theatre Workshop (where Rent got its start, on East Fourth Street in the East Village), Frank learns the recent affair wasn't the first time Julia and Michael hooked up, and he packs his bags and moves out, crushing Julia and their son, Leo (Emory Cohen). Julia later realizes that she created this mess, that it was a bombshell she willingly set off. Julia has a new title for her show: Marilyn the Musical is now called Bombshell. Now, if they only had a full script and score!

(Kenneth Jones is managing editor of Follow him on Twitter @PlaybillKenneth.)

Check out the earlier "Smash" Report recap of Episode 8. View Playbill Video's earlier visit with cast and creatives of "Smash."