THE "SMASH" REPORT: Episode 6, Or, The Pajama Top Game

By Kenneth Jones
13 Mar 2012

Megan Hilty
Photo by Patrick Harbron/NBC

NAME DROPPING: Scheduled to attend the workshop presentation of Marilyn, Eileen reveals, are real-life Broadway producers and theatre owners "the Nederlanders" (not named individually, so save an entire row!), plus Wicked producer David Stone and Tony Award-winning actor Nathan Lane. Jeffrey Finn has also RSVP'd. He's the real-life producer of Broadway's Seminar by "Smash" creator Theresa Rebeck. Finn was also behind the Tony-nominated revival of On Golden Pond starring James Earl Jones and Broadway's Oleanna starring Bill Pullman and Julia Stiles.

HAVA NAGILA — NO, HAVE TWO: Chorus performer Jessica (Savannah Wise, daughter of Tony Award winner Scott Wise of Jerome Robbins' Broadway) invites Karen to take over a $500 singing gig at a Long Island bar mitzvah (a job that Ivy had actually passed onto Jessica). With the hired band, Karen sings "Shake It Out," a Florence and the Machine song. She is noticed there, and the business card of a Tommy Mottola-like record producer is handed to her. She later makes the call. (That's the respected triple-threat New York and regional actor Fred Berman as the bar mitzvah band's lead guitarist. Berman was a replacement Timon in Broadway's The Lion King, appeared in Off-Broadway's Shockheaded Peter and played Mickey Marcus in the acclaimed 2004 Worth Street Theatre Company revival of The Normal Heart, which played an engagement at The Public Theater. He's also a Best Actor Carbonell Award nominee for playing Irving Berlin in the play-with-music Tin Pan Alley Rag.)


Will Chase and Debra Messing
photo by Patrick Harbron/NBC

JULIA & MICHAEL: Julia (Debra Messing) gives in to the hungry pleas of her ex-lover, Michael (Will Chase), the show's DiMaggio, by agreeing to meet him at the rehearsal studio at 10 PM (the guard will give them access). It's all very teen-age, this behavior. But the beat, beat, beat of the tom-tom proves too much for these selfish show people. As Carrie's crazy mother sings in Carrie, "Eve was weak." Well, so is Julia, though she has done her best to put Michael off. When she had tried to avoid him at rehearsal earlier, he came at her with this: "If you don't talk to me, I'll make a scene and everyone will know," offering a possibly unintentional abuser-victim twist to their story. Maybe she's not a victim, but just a girl who cain't say no — to him. To make good on their 10 PM liaison, she explains her absence to her nice husband Frank (Brian d'Arcy James) by saying she needs to clear her head and go for a walk (all the way from Brooklyn to Manhattan, it turns out — and in her pajama top; this behavior is also not a side effect of prednisone). "I should have never let them cast you," Julia says to Michael in the moonlit rehearsal hall. He replies, "I'll only touch your shirt…" And then, "No one has to know." Shirts come off. Like Sky Masterson and Sister Sarah Brown before them, the chemistry — yeah, chemistry — between guy and doll is too strong to resist, and they have sex on a couch. (And, no, this did not happen in Guys and Dolls.) History is made at night, indeed.

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

Check out the earlier "Smash" Report recap of Episode 5. View Playbill Video's earlier visit with cast and creatives of "Smash."