THE "SMASH" REPORT: Season Two Premiere, Or, Change Partners and Dance

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06 Feb 2013

Katharine McPhee in Season Two's opening sequence.
Katharine McPhee in Season Two's opening sequence.
Photo by Craig Blankenhorn/NBC

Playbill's weekly recap, with notes and comment, of the latest episode of the NBC musical drama series "Smash," about the dreamers behind Broadway musicals. Here's a look at the two-hour Feb. 5 premiere of Season Two.


Oh, "Smash," you've been away for eight months and we've missed you! Your undercooked dialogue, your New York City locations, your inconsistent characters, your completely arresting musical numbers! They were all in evidence in the Feb. 5 Season Two premiere, a packaging of a pair of hour-long episodes into one two-hour block that bluntly clipped characters and plot threads from last season (which ended with the Boston tryout of the musical Bombshell, about the life of Marilyn Monroe) and introduced new faces — at least one of them completely bereft of sideburns — to the series.

"Smash" creator and showrunner Theresa Rebeck (the Broadway playwright whose play Dead Accounts was short-lived and critically dismissed earlier this season) got the boot from "Smash" last year; viewership had dipped, word of mouth was bad, critics and theatre fans grumbled and Rebeck took the fall. She's no longer telling the "Smash" story, new executive producer Joshua Safran ("Gossip Girl") is, and he's done some housecleaning — in a musical montage.

As the episode opens, it's closing night of the Boston tryout of the musical by composer Tom (Christian Borle) and lyricist-librettist Julia (Debra Messing). Chorus kid Karen (Katharine McPhee) is a hit playing Marilyn, and we see her singing "Cut, Print…Moving On," a characteristically muscular number by Hairspray Tony Award winners Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, whose original songs (married to the now Emmy Award-winning choreography of Joshua Bergasse) became the major reason to follow "Smash" in Season One.


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