At the center of Smash there’s a whole lot of heart, and it’s got a name: Megan Hilty. The Broadway alum is the best part of the NBC musical dramedy, and her fabulous performance as troubled stage hopeful Ivy Lynn continues on the new Bombshell album (featuring songs from the Marilyn Monroe-themed show-within-the-show). Also coming down the pipeline is Hilty’s debut solo album, It Happens All the Time, arriving in March. We caught up with the actress during a recent Bombshell CD signing to chat about her upcoming album, her time spent channeling Marilyn in Bombshell and what's next for Ivy on Smash.
You must be thrilled that so many Broadway actors having joined the second season of Smash.
Absolutely! It’s a show that celebrates our community, so it’s so wonderful to have actual Broadway talent on the show and to see some of my friends. Seeing faces like Montego [Glover] and Lin-Manuel [Miranda] pop up on set is so cool.
Which Bombshell song was the easiest to record, and which was the most challenging?
The one that aired in the first episode, “They Just Keep Moving the Line,” was one of the easiest because it’s just so brilliantly written. I mean, they all are, but this one—I kind of feel like it’s going to be the next big song in everybody’s audition book, because it graduates so well.
What about the most challenging?
Maybe “I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn’t Love to Howl.” That was fun, but it was hard trying to wrap my head around figuring out a voice for Marilyn at that point. You have to sing, but you also have to indicate that you’re paying homage to her sound. Not that I ever want to do an imitation, but you can’t just go out there and not think about her essence.
How did the cast react to the ratings for the season two premiere?
There wasn’t much of a reaction! Those things are so far out of our control. As an actress, I learned a long time ago that there is a lot of this business that is just out of my hands. All I can really focus on is going to work every day and doing my best.
What songs are coming up for you? In the trailer we see you sing Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own”…
That was the one song that I asked [showrunner] Josh Safran [about] because I really wanted to cover it. I’m a huge fan of hers. It’s very important to me to connect to something through the lyrics. I was thinking about covering some of her songs in concerts, and I was going through the lyrics with somebody playing the guitar and I thought, “This would be really great deconstructed.” And then I started thinking it would be really great for Ivy.
Meanwhile, you’ve also got your debut album coming out in March.
It’s unlike anything anybody who knows me would ever expect. It’s not a musical theater album. It’s more like the other stuff I do on Smash. It’s contemporary pop, but all of the songs have a real meaning for me. It’s the reason why I never did an album before, because I was like, “What’s the reason? I have nothing to say.” All of these songs represent my life and what I’ve gone through in the last couple of years. The lyrics really resonated, and I wanted to stretch myself and see if I could tackle a different genre.
What's the mood like on set as you finish up the rest of the season?
We were all in the trailer this morning and it was a little sad because it was like, “Aw, we’re going to be done [filming season two] soon.” We have such a great time, so it’s sad that we won’t get to goof around with each other on a regular basis in a couple weeks.
Maybe season three?
Cross your fingers!