THE "SMASH" REPORT: Season Two Premiere, Or, Change Partners and Dance
06 Feb 2013
Jennifer Hudson as Veronica Moore
Photo by Eric Liebowitz/NBC
Some highlights of (and comments about) Episode 1 (called "On Broadway") and Episode 2 (dubbed "Fallout"):
DREAMGIRL: Special guest star Jennifer Hudson joined the cast for multiple episodes as two-time Tony Award winner Veronica Moore, star of a Memphis-style musical biography of an Aretha Franklin/Ettta James-style singer. The hit show is called Beautiful, and it's playing its final weeks at the St. James Theatre, the coveted musical house where Oklahoma! and The Producers were hits. In addition to Bombshell, Derek's future plate includes directing a revival of The Wiz starring Veronica. Hoping that Veronica's poise and grace will inspire Karen, Derek takes her to a performance of Beautiful (in which Hudson sings Shaiman and Wittman's R&B-flavored "Mama Makes Three," in which a sassy, finger-wagging mama haunts a sassy pop-jazz singer). Backstage, "Ronnie" has this advice for Karen: "Protect the work" and "someone's always waiting to take you down." Oscar winner Hudson (Effie of Hollywood's "Dreamgirls") remains an extremely convincing singer.
IDOL, IDOL, IDOL: Karen and Veronica, to distract the gullible and foolish members of the media at that collapsing Bombshell press event, get up and sing an improvised version of "On Broadway," reuniting two real-life former "American Idol" contestants (McPhee and Hudson). But the press event is marred by Frank's outburst and news that Eileen's financing of the show is being investigated by the authorities. (Eileen even snaps at Jujamcyn Theaters president Jordan Roth, via phone. He has withdrawn his offer of the promised St. James. And, yes, that was Roth as himself in the first hour. Read the recent Playbill.com story about his new role at Jujamcyn.) Riedel reports it all.