Thursday, April 25, 2013

Smashed, April 25, 2013

Opening Night
by Stuart Munro

Well friends, despite school being done for the year, I’ve been as busy as ever this past week with my three jobs and various other commitments. So it’s always a pleasure to sit back and enjoy the newest installment of Smash. A lot happens this episode, so let’s get started, shall we? This week: Opening night! 

OK. It’s still just the last preview for Bombshell, but Tom and Julia are already looking ahead to their next project, because, you know, it’s never too soon, right? Tom rejects everything Julia suggests out of hand (including her idea of building a musical around the poetry of Ezra Pound), mainly because he’s still mad at her for helping with Hit List. Tom leaves for drinks with one of his producers who offers him a job directing a revival of City of Angels. And it looks like he’s taking it. Ivy, meanwhile, accidentally overhears two patrons who say that the only problem with Bombshell is “her.” I’ve been in that situation before (“ludicrously miscast” I believe was the phrase) and believe you me, it’s no fun at all. She ends her self-imposed media blackout to read the message boards on line (never a good idea. Again, I speak from experience.) Derek has spent the night, and they have a failed discussion about what their relationship actually is.

The thing I didn’t see coming at all but am OVER THE MOON about?

Good news, though. Leo’s back! I know this kid isn’t a terribly good actor, and that once Julia’s marriage ended and Leo went off to college he kind of became unnecessary, but I always liked him. Maybe it’s just because I think he’s adorable. In any case, he gives Julia an idea for a new musical: The Great Gatsby. Apparently she and Tom have wanted to do this show for ages, but the rights were never available. About ten years ago I was involved in a reading of a musical version of Gatsby, and one of the authors told me that the only thing in the way was the rights which would be available “soon.” So who knows. Maybe it’s not that crazy an idea after all. In the Smash universe, Ahrens and Flaherty (of Ragtime fame) held the rights, but they’ve let them lapse. So Julia’s lawyer is working on it. No offence to Julia and Tom, but I’d take an Ahrens and Flaherty Gatsby over theirs any day of the week.

At the opening night for Bombshell, real life composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman have an adorably awkward cameo, and Eileen shows up with, but then dumps, Richard from the Times. Jimmy and Karen discuss Adam, who it turns out is Jimmy’s brother, and, in what may be the most heartwarming thing I’ve ever seen, Jimmy tells Karen how Kyle saved him from a life of crime on the streets, and that Kyle is his real brother (I just want the two boys to kiss so bad!). The opening goes swimmingly, and Ivy really knocks the finale, “Don’t Forget Me,” out of the park. But Julia learns (from Rosie O’Donnell of all people) about Tom’s directing gig and is clearly not pleased. When she asks Tom about it, he basically breaks up with her, telling her that he plans to focus on directing for the time being. And it’s heartbreaking to watch.

At the party afterwards, Adam and Jimmy get into a tussle which gets them ejected from the party and costs Jimmy Karen’s sympathy. Derek and Scott plan to move Hit List uptown to Broadway (since the downtown run is completely sold out), and Scott even offers Julia a spot in the fall season for her own version of Gatsby. But the most exciting thing? The thing I didn’t see coming at all but am OVER THE MOON about? Tom asked Kyle out. And Kyle said Yes. And I’m too thrilled for words!

This week was easily the best episode of Smash in two seasons, and its ratings even started to climb again (albeit not very much). This is finally a show that deserves an audience. I just hope the people with the power see that and give it the chance it has now earned.

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