THE "SMASH" REPORT: Season Two, Episode 5, Or, The "C" Plot Thickens

By Kenneth Jones
06 Mar 2013


Katharine McPhee
Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/NBC

There is a lot of pressure on Julia to deliver a solid script at this read-through. Amazingly, hours before the reading, neither Tom nor Derek has read the rewrite that Julia cooked up while shacking up with Peter in the country. It's a little like a legal defense team not meeting before their first day in court.

Julia bumps into Tony Award-nominated playwright Jon Robin Baitz (whose Other Desert Cities played Broadway and is a hot property in regional theatres at the moment) in Times Square. In his cameo, he plants the seed in Julia's mind that Peter has rewritten, stolen and taken credit for another playwright's work in the past, and warns her to be wary. She has last-minute doubts about going through with the reading. Maybe it's bad? "[Jerry's] got no problem pulling the plug if this doesn't go flawlessly," says Derek.

As it turns out, despite a pregnant pause following the reading (Ann Harada's expression as stage manager Linda is priceless — is she laying an egg?), it's deemed a brilliant revision by everyone but Jerry. He says he won't produce it. It's too arty. It'll win awards, but he wants to put asses in seats — to make money. He cites the critical hits Grey Gardens, Follies and Ragtime, respected properties that didn't recoup their investments. "Take it to the Public Theater," he says.

But then he back-pedals. He says he's not going to produce this version, but he will produce another version! Peter's other draft? No! Peter didn't pen a competing script! That was all misdirection (thanks, Robbie Baitz!). Jerry wants to go back to the pre-Boston "workshop" version of the script, back when it was called Marilyn the Musical (from Season One).