As Broadway-loving TV fans are undoubtedly aware, the new NBC series Smash (premiering February 6, 2012) will take viewers behind the scenes of the creation of a musical biography of Marilyn Monroe. The logical next question: Could this made-for-TV musical transfer to a real Broadway stage?
“It could,” hedged composer and co-lyricist Marc Shaiman during a recent red-carpet chat with Broadway.com. “It would need reshaping, because what we’re writing for the TV show is very specific to each episode; it’s always shadowing or mirroring what’s happening to the characters. We find ways for Marilyn Monroe’s story to reflect what’s going on with these people, so if the [Broadway] show was only about Marilyn Monroe, we would have to fine-tune it.” Added, Shaiman’s writing partner, Scott Wittman, “Marilyn is the conduit for these people to sing about their lives and their dreams.”
Smash features scripts by Seminar playwright Theresa Rebeck, who has become a trusted partner of the Catch Me If You Can and Hairspray composing team. “She’s an amazing writer,” Wittman said. “Sometimes she will write a monologue and we’ll turn it into a song. She’s very insightful and knows these characters inside out.”
Of course, Broadway has already seen one Monroe musical, Marilyn: An American Fable, which ran for 34 previews and 17 performances in 1983, with Alyson Reed in the title role. Producer Harvey Weinstein recently expressed interest in turning the indie film My Week With Marilyn into a Broadway musical starring Katy Perry. Smash’s fictional tuner will pit Broadway vet Megan Hilty (9 to 5, Wicked) against American Idol finalist Katharine McPhee for the title role.