Poor Karen. She gets her first professional job in a workshop for a Broadway-bound musical—but not the lead! Then, her first gig performing at a bar mitzvah leads to her cutting a demo at a record studio. But she's "more of a stage performer," so would becoming a recording superstar really fulfill her? She's torn!
Julia is... not torn. She's all in on her affair with Michael Swift, making out with him in an empty studio before rehearsal begins. And guess who's in a corner? Our favorite lurker, Ellis. Shut up, Ellis.
As if Ivy Lynn didn't have enough going on behind the scenes, her mother Bernadette Peters comes with her to rehearsal. Sorry, "Leigh Conroy." But please. And in the moment it takes for Leigh to open her mink and flash some gam, I could perfectly picture Bernadette Peters starring in a Postcards From the Edge musical. We all have time on our hands—someone get on that!
Wesley Taylor is not throwing away his shot in this scene, begging Leigh/Bernadette to "Sing something!" Soon everyone is kind of forcing Leigh to sing "Everything's Coming Up Roses." This is one of those awkward scenes in Smash where they wanted a song and just went... "Eh. We'll have someone ask them to sing."I get it, transitions are hard!
The scene is actually pretty remarkable, going from wide-eyed fandom to Julia and Tom watching Ivy Lynn silently cry as her mother sings to her that she can do it—with mama's help. In front of her cast and creative team. While she literally holds her mother's coat and bag. At least it wrests a compliment out of Derek, who tells her's she great in the show and she'll wow them at the workshop tomorrow.
Julia ends up in much louder tears when she sees Michael Swift with his family, who have dropped by rehearsal. Not only does she abruptly leave the studio, she breaks down on the street and then leaves to go home. No one is particularly thrilled by this, including Leo (who is smoking pot in his bedroom) and Derek (who needs pages!), but Ellis sees an opportunity and trots over to Eileen to fill her in on Julia's dirty secret life. Eileen calmly tells him that if he ever repeats that to anyone else, he'll never work in this town again.
At Ivy Lynn's, Bernadette is gently negging her. "Look at that magnetism," she says of Marilyn onscreen. "I don't know how you're gonna pull that off." Eileen is having a better time of it at her new favorite LES haunt, drinking a $7 martini and crafting shady deals to get the heating fixed in the studio.
Karen has made her decision. She will not break her prior engagements to become a world famous recording star with Bobby Riskin. Instead, she will do her time (dolefully, no doubt) in the chorus of this musical, making $200 a week. She's fine, it's no big deal. She's just, like, a better person than you?
In another room, Julia and Michael Swift are working on a scene together that becomes an improvised breakup. Derek, as usual, misses all of the subtext and just hears a great scene that bumps into the song better. He's so focused on work! But he still has time for a trip down memory lane with Eileen, reminiscing about working on a new play early in his career that found its leading lady coming down with SARS. Oddly topical!
Oh, but then Eileen tells him that he's talented enough to excuse his behavior. I'll give her a pass on this one because she's obviously blinded by her hunky bartender, Nick, and we've all been there. But Eileen, honestly. (All is mostly forgiven with Anjelica Huston's extremely thirsty delivery of, "He makes the best $7 martinis in Manhattan.")
As the workshop slowly grinds to a start, Ivy Lynn is crumbling but Tom quickly reminds her that she was born to do this, and she has ice water in her veins. It helps—until Leigh shows up, late, and gets a round of applause. My god. These are industry professionals!
Equally unprofessional, Karen spends the workshop picturing herself as Marilyn. Maybe focus on your track? Oh it doesn't matter. Ivy Lynn is right: You get everything handed to you on a plate. (I myself am an Ivy Lynn.) Not poor Ivy Lynn, who fought for the role and is now battling enemies on all fronts. If it's not her mother, it's prednisone or it's Derek, at intermission, telling her she's unfocused and she needs to pull it together. How helpful, thank you Herr Director.
Back in the sweltering studio, Michael Swift belts out "Lexington and 52nd Street." (I've been to that intersection; it's pretty snoozeville.) And the workshop is over! No one seems thrilled, to be honest. But Ivy Lynn takes the opportunity to continue her streak of truth telling and lets Leigh have it for being so cruel. Then... they both go back to Ivy Lynn's apartment together. Awkward. But much like crying in front of Derek got her a compliment, her stark honestly with Leigh gets her to admit that Ivy Lynn is a star. Even if she doesn't yet have a Tony and still gets nervous.
At a rehash session in Eileen's office, Derek is reading aloud criticism of the workshop while Julia sits in giant sunglasses. Guess who's shouldering the blame for the workshop's womp womp performance? Ivy Lynn. Until, that is, Tom pivots to a new scapegoat: Michael Swift. He and Julia circle the wagons, and he's out. Derek's furious; Eileen is a wise, understanding owl, knowing everything without saying anything. Which, for the record, is a talented performer getting fired for having an affair with a co-worker. Just so we're clear.
Super CAA agent Joe Machota (played by Blake J. Evans...)
"Brighter Than the Sun," snippets of "Let Me Be Your Star," "Twentieth Century Fox Mambo," "History Is Made at Night." "National Pastime," "Lexington and 52nd Street"
5 (Julia, random bike messenger, 2 random extras, Tom)