Light the lights, Smashers! "The Workshop" episode of NBC's Broadway-loving drama is finally here. Yes, the Marilyn musical by Julia (Debra Messing) and Tom (Christian Borle) is ready to sing and dance for potential investors. Will Ivy (Megan Hilty) set the world on fire? Will her mother (Bernadette Peters) steal the show? Find out with this week’s Smash-Back:
Worst Kept Secret: Sorry for the reality check, but how could Derek (Jack Davenport) not know that Bernadette Peters, um, we mean Leigh Conroy, is Ivy's Tony-winning Broadway legend of a mother? OK, maybe he knew all along. Still, he plays it down charmingly: "You never told me your mother was Leigh Conroy." We can't imagine why Ivy never mentioned her spotlight-stealing, undermining mommy dearest... especially when Leigh raises the roof of the rehearsal room by belting "Everything's Coming Up Roses" from Gypsy. If anyone out there doesn't know 1. That song is sung by the pushiest stage mother of all time, and 2. Peters headlined a Broadway revival of Gypsy in 2003, then you should probably just change the channel to Hawai Five-0. Then again, you are reading this on Broadway.com. Forget it.
Most Spot-On Character: Oh, Bobby (Wesley Taylor). First he begs Leigh to "sing something" like an excited five year old on Christmas morning, then he shrugs it off like he has no idea who just did that. His genuine excitement mixed with New York jadedness captures the essence of so many real-life chorus boys. Giddy at Karen's (Katharine McPhee) prospects with a music mogul, a split second later he's rolling his eyes at her for sticking with the workshop. We know he would have rolled his eyes no matter what. You're nailing it, Bobby, baby.
Handiest Producer: Don't you love Eileen (Anjelica Huston)? She threatens the rehearsal studio's building manager (played by Broadway's Brad Oscar, still sporting his Addams Family Uncle Fester shaved head), hires an illegal immigrant to fix the broken boiler, revels in her dive bar bartender flirtation and puts smarmy assistant Ellis (Jaime Cepero) firmly in his place when he reveals Julia and Michael's (Will Chase) secret relationship. She also manages to cock her head just so when Ivy stumbles during the baseball number and Karen falls off the bleachers at the end of Act One. One glance from Eileen, and you know heads are gonna roll.
Most Meta Moment: Joe Machota of CAA (yes, that's really him) attends the workshop of Marilyn, which gets the ensemble buzzing that Eileen wants to replace Ivy with a name. Later when Eileen and co. are doing their post-mortem on the workshop, she suggests they regroup and recast, saying Joe represents many talents: "Scarlett Johansson, Michelle Williams, Sutton Foster..." Tom interrupts her with an abrupt, "Stop!" Tom is played by Christian Borle, Sutton Foster's real-life ex-husband. Awkward!
Biggest Blame Game: So the Marilyn workshop is a bust. Blame the heat. Blame the emotional Julia, who is dealing with her infidelity, pothead teen and bizarre wardrobe of capes, carpet bags and super-sized sunglasses. Blame Derek for sabotaging Ivy by telling her she was "off her game" at intermission. Blame it on the rain... At the end of the day, we know this is not the end of Marilyn; stay tuned.