SMASH Don’t Give a Shit: “The Dress Rehearsal”

SMASH’s time was moved once again this week and I am now fairly certain they are actively trying to evade me. Well, joke’s on you SMASH, because I have nothing to do with my life at eight o’clock on a Saturday night.

I was living for this episode because it’s the closest SMASH has come this season to last year’s brilliance. Ivy slept with Derek. Karen didn’t get everything she wanted. There was even more than we ever needed to see of Ellis. After a week off from “SMASH Don’t Give a Shit,” I am happy to be back and #SoBlessed it was with an episode like this.

Top 10 Times SMASH Didn’t Give a Shit and Other Things I Loved: “The Dress Rehearsal”

1.) The Gypsy Run: The truest statement ever spoken in the history of SMASH came when Ivy Lynn said, “Whoever thought it was a good idea to have your first performance be in front of your friends and family was obviously not an actor.” Any semblance of realism in this episode pretty much stopped after that.

I guess Bombshell moved from the Belasco to the Lyceum, which is actually the fictitious Lily Hayes that apparently doubles as the magical Mary Poppins bag version of theatres because that interior is HUGE. I was hoping for SMASH to go for it and really introduce the world to the kind of trashtastic event that is a typical Broadway “gypsy run.” However, a few important details were missing…

Things I wish we saw at the Bombshell final dress rehearsal:

  • An apologetic curtain speech from the director.
  • A tech table that takes up 90% of the orchestra seating.
  • Disgruntled actors who are pissed they have to sit all the way house right because said tech table is in the way.
  • A full house. That mezzanine should have been filled with Jessica and Bobby’s actor friends, judging Bombshell quietly and safely out of the production team’s earshot.
  • Those “Do You Have an Extra Ticket?” people. I’d give anything for there to have been a scene outside the Lily Hayes theatre where someone from the Liaisons cast was approached by one those homeless people who ALWAYS END UP SITTING IN FRONT OF ME AT OPENING NIGHTS. I swear I saw one of those creatures at the Matilda opening last week werk their way from the back of the balcony to house seats. No joke. That bitch was next to Peter Dinklage at the buffet. I don’t know how they do it.

2.) SMASH Still Hates Ellis: SMASH hates Ellis so much they physically brought him back to be some sort of Inception-double-dream punchline. They paid poor Jaime Cepero to come back to the role in which he was universally hated by the entire audience that watched. They made him take his shirt off and get in bed with Tom for the sole purpose of scaring the shit out of us. They wanted us to feel the horror Tom felt. I’ll admit it worked, but hasn’t Ellis been through enough? He was the face of AnnoyingActorFriend for eight months straight (the longest held by any actor to date), and now SMASH is paying him to basically be the musical theatre version of a Halloween prank. Those five seconds of screen time are five more seconds than I’ve spent on a primetime television show. So props to you, Mr. Cepero. As long as the check clears…

3.) Sam Strickland Don’t Give a Shit: Sam Strickland has evolved into that friend you have that constantly complains about their Broadway show. And I don’t know ANY OF THOSE PEOPLE. But you know what? I’m not even going to fault him for it. We don’t know how old Sam is, but if he’s the same age as Leslie Odam Jr., he did Take Me Out before graduating from college. That may not even have been his Broadway debut. Sam went from performing in the Tony Award winning Best Play of 2003, to FOURTH male swing from the left. If someone named, “Tristan” had seniority over me, I’d probably want to quit, too.

People like Sam exist. They are the performers who make it into a Broadway ensemble and that’s it. They jump from show to show, remain employed, but are essentially hitting a theatrical glass ceiling. College doesn’t teach you what to do after that. Some people are more than content living that lifestyle and some are not. I’d love to sit on a soap box and complain about how #grateful and #blessed Sam should feel, but I’d be denying the fact that he is a pretty solid representation of a group of people within this industry.

That being said, let’s get a few things straight, Mr. Strickland. You do not work for Tom. You work for Linda. Your agent needs to stay out of it, and stop calling you to let you know if you’re going on or not. Let PSM Linda do her fucking job.

4.) BOOBIES!!!: There have been many times when I felt SMASH was written by a thirteen year old girl who saw Wicked a few times and thought, “I know Broadway.” But I’m damn near positive this last episode was written by a thirteen year old boy who hasn’t figured out how to take the parental filter off the family computer. This week’s bar for maturity was set about as low as my own.

My notes for this episode have four or five separate bullet points that just read, “NUDDIE!!!” This juvenile obsession with nudity in Bombshell was on an Animal House meets Revenge of the Nerds level. And, since I’m essentially a twelve year-old, I loved every minute!

Everybody wanted to see boobies this week. Julia loved seeing the boobies. Eileen loved seeing the boobies to an extent that bordered on uncomfortable. Jessica and Bobby loved the boobies so much they went to BroadwayWorld and TheaterMania to read about how much everyone else loved the boobies. Just when the love of boobies verged on too much, SMASH dropped the subject to talk about Sam’s penis. With only six episodes remaining, I don’t think it will ever get more SMASHtastic than this.

While we’re on the subject… What exactly was underneath Ivy’s clothes? This a serious question. The two times Ivy dropped trou elicited horror from the audience. It was like in Scrooged, when the Ghost of Christmas Future opened his robe. Is nudity so taboo that audible gasps happened both times Ivy bared it all? If SMASH wanted to go the realistic route (LOL) they would have had half the audience pull out camera phones like they were at Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Just when I was about to give up on what was so shocking about Ms. Lynn’s full monty, Julia raised a glass in honor of Ivy at Table 46 and said, “girl’s got balls.”

(I warned you. I’m twelve.)

5.) That Awkward Moment When … :

  • I got so smashed doing #smashedwithsmash last week that I have no memory of Derek and Ivy getting back together.
  • I spent twenty-five minutes debating whether or not Tom saying “Hello. Hello. Where is everybody?” was a naked reference to Bobby Child in Crazy for You.
  • Days of Our Lives promo happened during a commercial break. It’s come to that…
  • I accepted the blue Greek coffee cups because they were just on Mad Men which means they are now a pretentiously brilliant prop choice.
  • I don’t think anyone knows the actual name of the guy playing JFK.
  • Jimmy wrote nine songs and thought nine of them “might suck” when it took twenty-five people to write all of Hit List’s songs and… none of them suck.
  • Jimmy was “only on adderall”… But we’ve seen what prednisone is capable of doing in the SMASHiverse.
  • There was someone over thirty in Bombshell.
  • Bombshell ain’t got no quick change dressers.
  • William Ivey Long is not the designer because those quick change costumes would have been magnetized or velcro at the very least.
  • Julia didn’t want to bother Tom because HE WAS IN TECH.
  • Eileen walked out on yet another check at Table 46. I don’t think Eileen Rand’s national tours are full production contract.

6.) Hermi-Ana GrangerWhen Ana learned silks in five minutes, I suggested that maybe she went to Hogwarts, because only a wizard could work such magic. It may have taken Jimmy 72 hours and adderall to write nine songs, but it only took Hermi-Ana a commercial break to learn them. She must have that time changer thingy from Prisoner of Azkaban. Hopefully Hermi-Ana knows some kind of spell to protect her from all that contemporary oozing the ensemble was doing around her.

Karen really showed her true colors this week. If I opened my bedroom up for a friend in need and they treated me in the same emotionally abusive way Karen treats Ana, I’d dump their ass on the sidewalk. When Karen told Ana, “He only gave you that song because he was pissed at me” I wanted to come through the television screen and punch her in the throat. Thank God Ana said what we’ve all been thinking for twenty-six episodes… “Are you kidding? WOW.”

7.) PSM Linda Better WERK: This was PSM Linda’s chance to really shine. She called the dress rehearsal without a tech table. She broke a fog machine. She shortened the intermission. She dealt with an eight year-old. She ain’t got no ASM, so she called the show from stage right. Linda is over-werked! I guess that’s Josh Safran’s excuse for giving her a vacation for the rest of the season. Let’s hold a five minute moment of silence for PSM Linda…

Thank you, five.

Linda may be absent from the rest of the season, but you can bet I’ll find a way to shoehorn her into these recaps.

8.) Kyle’s Comeback: Just so you know, Kyle Bishop is “good at this” now. He can write a libretto. He learned how to last week. Scott and Julia taught Kyle that you don’t need to lay all your loose-leaf material out on a table and move it around at random. You can use a bulletin board and colored note cards! So back off, Jimmy Whatsername. Kyle’s got this!

In a shocking turn of events, Kyle sided with Derek’s decision to open the show with the Diva. I don’t really know if Derek actually likes Ana. I stopped paying attention when Derek, Jimmy, and Karen became Dylan, Kelly, and Brenda. I’ve already seen that show.

9.) Bombshell’s Intermission: Team Bombshell’s intermission dilemma should be studied in technical theatre school. It was that awesome. Intermission was running long because that gigantic balsa wood plane takes forever to setup. You would think they were sinking the Titanic or engaging in the Battle of Helms Deep. Julia suggests cutting and pasting “Dig Deep” to the top of Act II, to give more time for the stage hands to setup that Diet Cameron Makintosh Spectacle. I don’t understand why they didn’t just cut the plane for the first preview. Stuff like that happens all the time. For example: Thoroughly Modern Millie cut Erin Dilly before the first preview.

Moving “Dig Deep” required the number to be re-staged as an “in one.” This meant no less than ten premium ticket holding audience members had to stand in the back of the house while cast members took their seats. Actors don’t pay for tickets. Ever. So had this happened at the Gypsy Run or when I was papered in, you can bet I’d have walked out. Audience participation is my worst nightmare. I’ve never seen Act II of The Mystery of Edwin Drood. If an actor steps off the stage I get automatic hives. It’s actually scarier to me than waking up next to Ellis.

Since nobody really knows what Bombshell looks like as a fully realized piece, I’m going to have to accept the fact that “Dig Deep” made about as much sense at the top of Act II as it did in its original spot. However, I would have preferred it if Julia flexed her book writing muscles a little more and gifted us with something as truly awesome as Spider-Man‘s infamous Geek Chorus. Those skinny-jeaned-angsty-teens were Julie Taymor’s answer to, “Oh, shit. We need something to distract the audience while we’re moving the set.” The Geek Chorus consisted of six Andy Mientus’ and the Asian girl from GLEE. I’m still not entirely convinced Kyle wasn’t one of the members of the Geek Chorus. It would explain why he was waiting tables.

10.) Google Terms: Tom typed an extensive amount of terms into Google to find the New York Times article on Bombshell. He searched: bombshell, broadway, preview, wednesday. I have a feeling he could have omitted a few of those terms and still found what he wanted.

AnnoyingActorFriend.com has a feature in its statistics that allows me to see how people have accessed my site through Google and what terms they used. Allow me to share with you a few of my favorites from the last three months…

  • smash hates urban cowboy <— they sure do.
  • how annoying is new cast on smash <— #rude
  • ana from smash hairstyles <— #werk
  • steven spielberg shit <— hope this wasn’t a search for Spielberg’s actual poo.
  • shit to read <— hope this guy wasn’t let down.
  • sondheim dungeon <— #soproud
  • singing does not put food on the table singing does not pay the bills singing is no guarantee to a future even if you have got talent <— seriously word for word.
  • i’m sorry ana <— aren’t we all.
  • soyblessed urban dictionary <— SoyBlessed is not in the Urban Dictionary. #mustchangethis

 

2 comments

  1. Quentin

    And in what universe would they allow the actress to decide if she was going to be naked only seconds before she goes on stage? I get letting her make the call but I’m sure they’d say, “We need an answer before the overture.”

  2. Tim

    Finally! Someone noticed the theater change! In the opening scene of the season opener Tom kvelled about how great Bombshell would look in the Belasco Theater. Maybe the ghost drove them out? But one thing you DIDN’T mention was that it finally looked like winter outside although it’s approximately early February in the story (Julia mentions it’s in “the middle of winter).

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