This may come as a shock, but I have a lot of respect for SMASH. My original intent with this blog was to playfully pick apart details in the show that only someone in the theatre would care to criticize. “SMASH Don’t Give a Shit” was as much a satire of actors as it was of SMASH itself. Who in the general public really cares that Ivy only had three pages of audition material for Liaisons or that Karen does not wear pin-curls under her wig? SMASH did not set out to be a documentary. I believe it was meant to be a love letter to Broadway, and it succeeded in so many ways.
Performers are outwardly critical and even if SMASH was everything we wanted it to be, we probably would have ripped it apart just the same. We set SMASH up to fail. This was our world and we were prepared to defend it because no matter what story it chose to tell, it would never be ours. The Broadway community thrives on being a family, yet we did not do a whole lot to support a television show that was trying desperately to help and hire all of us. But did SMASH really misrepresent us?
SMASH introduced those outside the industry to the genius of Marc Shaiman and Scott Whittman, the triple-threat of Megan Hilty, the vocals of Jeremy Jordan and Leslie Odam Jr., the expertly danced choreography of Joshua Bergasse, the glamour of Broadway, Michael Riedel, ten out of twelves, opening nights, out of town tryouts, auditions, callbacks, Telsey & Co., Bond 45, Westway Diner, and the list goes on. Whether or not we agree with how our universe was portrayed, there are people out there that have never set foot in a Broadway theatre who are now familiar with all those little details in our lives because of SMASH.
Sometimes your director is a complete asshole. Sometimes your creative team has no idea what show they are doing. Sometimes success comes too easily for certain people. Sometimes the wrong person gets the role. These were all plot lines covered in SMASH. Who knows? Maybe if it were renewed, some of your story, or my story, or your sublet’s story, would have found its way onto SMASH.
I will miss SMASH. Simply because it tried to make Broadway relevant to a demographic that perhaps knew nothing about it. If there are kids out there that heard Katharine McPhee belt “Don’t Forget Me,” saw Krysta Rodriguez dangle from silks, or watched Debra Messing and Christian Borle struggle with constructing a musical, and turned to their parents to say, “I want to do that,” then I think SMASH did its job.
Thank you, SMASH.