Butz, who won the Best Actor Tony Award for Catch Me If You Can, guest stars on a future episode of the series created by Theresa Rebeck (Seminar, Mauritius). He plays St. Peter in a hit Broadway musical called Heaven On Earth. The episode was in production the week of Jan. 16 and included a shoot on Staten Island.
Butz won his most recent Best Actor Tony in spring 2011 for singing the Catch Me If You Can songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who also pen the original music and lyrics for "Smash," about the making of a new musical about Marilyn Monroe. (Shaiman and Wittman are also executive producers.) Butz won his first Best Actor Tony for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.
Already announced to make guest appearances in the future are two-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters (Follies, Annie Get Your Gun, Sunday in the Park With George, Into the Woods) and pop and theatre star Nick Jonas (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying).
Peters will play Leigh Conroy, mother of Ivy (played by Megan Hilty). Ivy, a 10-year veteran of Broadway choruses, is hoping to win the role of Marilyn Monroe in the new musical being written by Tom (Christian Borle) and Julia (Debra Messing). (Tom and Julia's most recent hit is the aforementioned Heaven on Earth.)
New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel will also surface in the show. Making cameos in the second episode are producer Jordan Roth, president of Jujamcyn Theaters, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Tom Kitt (Next to Normal). If the first two episodes are any indication, a number of inside-Broadway mentions will punctuate the series in a way that won't frustrate the lay person. For example, there's a reference to a "Bernie," who is obviously theatrical casting director Bernard Telsey, whose Telsey + Company also works on "Smash"; and actor-turned-agent Joe Machota of CAA gets a shout out.
The capacious bar and dining room of theatre-district resaturant Bond 45, on 45th Street, is on handsome display in episode two.
The series regulars include Katharine McPhee ("American Idol") as Karen, an aspiring actress competing with Ivy; Oscar winner Anjelica Huston ("Prizzi's Honor") as Eileen, a producer financially shaken by divorce; Jack Davenport ("Pirates of the Caribbean" and Britain's "Coupling") as a director-choreographer, Derek, who doesn't know boundaries; Tony Award nominee Brian d'Arcy James (Shrek The Musical, Time Stands Still) as Frank, the schoolteacher husband of Julia; Jaime Cepero as Ellis, Tom's stage-struck assistant; and Raza Jaffrey as Karen's boyfriend, Dev, who works in the mayor's office.
Playwright Rebeck (The Scene, The Understudy) penned the pilot (and other episodes) and is the show's creator. Tony Award winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening, American Idiot) directed the pilot and other episodes.
As reported, the pilot was released as a free download on digital services, including iTunes, starting Jan. 16 prior to the Feb. 6 launch on NBC. Two Shaiman-Wittman songs are also available for purchase as downloads.