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What I learned from Smash (if I didn’t know anything about theater) May 27, 2013

Posted by ronannarbor in Broadway Musicals, musical theater, TV.
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If I didn’t know anything about theater, Broadway, or musical theater, here is what I would have taken away from the now-cancelled series SMASH which ended its run last night on NBC:

The girl that doesn’t act, look, sing, or dance like Marilyn will get cast as Marilyn because she was on American Idol.

Everyone lives in the theater district in NYC: nobody drives a car, let alone goes home to New Jersey at the end of the night. All cast members walk to work, they don’t take the subway, busses, taxis, or bikes. Nobody has to take the train home to Flushing, Westchester, or anywhere else for that matter. A few of the cast might live as far away as Dumbo in Brooklyn. They walk there.

The director makes all hiring and firing decisions, and he can decide what you will do on the Tonys without notifying anyone, in fact, he can make any changes he wants even seconds before the performance on live TV.

You can fully cast a multi-million dollar musical before you even have a script and score ready to go (although I guess Motown the Musical might have proven this to be true).

The director sleeps with every woman he wants to cast. Its just the way it goes. In fact the director sleeps with women.

Out of town theaters can become available for a pre-Broadway tryout with one phone call. They can have a full house at the first preview just three days later, including newspaper coverage.

You can move a mediocre off-Broadway show to Broadway, because theaters are instantly available, and you can do so overnight.

When a new director takes over a show, mostly he is in charge of how to make scene changes happen during intermission, and the union crew is available at his beck and call.

The new girl gets the role, even when not right for it, because she has “that certain something”.

A big finish will help them forget what came before — especially when its set to practically the same tune as the finale for Catch Me If You Can.

A major broadway director will drop everything and go to the aide of an unwritten mediocre-at-best Off-Broadway musical because he “believes” in his girlfriend’s judgement.

The Outer Critic awards take place in a small dining room with about 25 guests. Oh, and while we’re at it: you can pick up a dead person’s tickets and use them for your friends at the Tony’s.

Shows and major decisions made about them are influenced entirely by whom is sleeping with whom, because everyone cares about that.

You can add a new number to the show between matinee and evening, and have a complete new set and costumes ready to go for that performance.

Nobody uses body mics, there is no backstage crew, and there is no tech rehearsal necessary to make it just happen. Probably because the new director took care of all of that himself.

If you cast the right people in the leads, everything else will happen by itself. (That is only true in community theater).

If you need a really really really really really big movie star to play your lead on Broadway, bring in Sean Hayes.

You can just fire the best performer in your show (Will Chase) because the book-writer slept with him and the book-writer thinks its a bad idea for him to stick around. The book-writer can bypass union rules to do so, because the book-writer is the most important person in your artistic staff.

Speaking of book and score writing: apparently the shows write themselves because the writers are too busy sleeping around and drinking wine at the local bar. The latter is pre-requisite to take over the role of director for a major multi-million dollar musical.

There are no musical directors on Broadway. Music rehearsals don’t take place, just performance quality scenes, and the Musical Director apparently only conducts the orchestra.

And the coolest thing I learned from Smash….when you win the Tony for Best Musical, you can bring your just-out-of-jail boyfriend on stage with you to accept the award.

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