THE "SMASH" REPORT: Episode 14, Or, You Can't End a Musical With a Suicide

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09 May 2012

Leslie Odom Jr.
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

Some highlights of (and comments about) Episode 14:

TOM AND JULIA: Skeevy Michael Swift has taken his re-hiring as DiMaggio as a sign that Julia is still interested in him. He tries to kiss her in a Boston hotel lobby and she rejects him. Julia expresses her anger to Tom about his siding with Eileen and Derek on the question of Michael's return to the cast. Tom counters that he counseled Julia against the disastrous affair. Julia calls Tom righteous. She feels outvoted. The episode's writer, David Marshall Grant, who is also a series executive producer, knows how to write confrontation scenes really well (see chorus-girl Jessica and Karen's moment in Episode 4). Grant (a Tony-nominated actor) was executive producer of the TV series "Brothers and Sisters"; he's also a Drama Desk Award-nominated playwright whose plays Snakebit, Current Events and Pen were seen Off-Broadway. Tom and Julia later mutually apologize following an inspirational visit to a church service in which chorus performer Sam (Tom's boyfriend, played by Leslie Odom, Jr.) and Karen sing a rousing version of "Stand," the gospel hit by real-life minister-songwriter Donnie McClurkin, who said in 2007 that God cured him of his homosexuality. God's true miracle is that Karen learned the fabulous arrangement to the church song during the most fraught week in her short professional life.

Megan Hilty and Marc Kudisch
photo by Will Hart/NBC

SAY IT WITH MUSIC: That's Tony-nominated Broadway leading man Marc Kudisch guest-starring as the actor portraying movie mogul Darryl F. Zanuck in the Boston preview of Bombshell, performing a song called "Smash" with the women's ensemble. There had to be a series title song eventually, and Shaiman and Wittman's infectiously jazzy number is characteristically sharp and full of yearning; it's a song for the tired businessmen in the auditorium — Zanuck dripping with would-be starlets (Karen and Ivy are among the leggy dames throwing themselves at the executive). Kudisch and Hilty have shared a Broadway stage. She was Doralee, the "Backwoods Barbie," to his piggy bossman in Broadway's 9 to 5: The Musical (for which he earned a 2009 Featured Actor Tony nomination). That Dolly Parton-scored musical was produced by Robert Greenblatt, who now runs NBC Entertainment, which airs "Smash."

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

Check out the earlier "Smash" Report recap of Episode 13.

View Playbill Video's earlier visit with cast and creatives of "Smash."

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