Before Darren Criss’ Blaine belted out Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” for his beloved Kurt on Glee, and before Zoey’s Imaginary Playlist completely reimagined television musicals, there was Smash. With Steven Spielberg as an Executive Producer, Smash told the story of a New York City theater company bringing a brand new stage production to life, aptly titled “Bombshell” (with Katherine McPhee’s Karen Cartwright and Megan Hilty’s Ivy Lynn battling it out for the lead role, All About Eve style. With amazing performances from noted actors like Anjelica Huston (Eileen Rand), Debra Messing (Julia Houston), and Christian Borle (Tom Levitt) and original music from composing duos like Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman (as well as future legends Benj Pasek & Justin Paul), Smash was both a love letter to Broadway and to the Big Apple itself. While it sadly was cancelled after two seasons (off-screen staffing changes and ratings among the reason), it looks like Smash-and Bombshell– may be getting a brand new life-on the Great White Way.
This is not the first time we have seen Smash reappear in the pop culture zeitgeist. In 2015, the creative team behind the series brought Bombshell to life for one spectacular evening, with proceeds benefitting The Actors Fund. (see the full production here) and a virtual production was recreated as were were all deep in quarantine in 2020. Now, a brand new Broadway production is being eyed for a 2024 splashy opening, with a twist. Poised to have its first workshop this summer, Tony-winner Bob Martin and Tony-nominated Rick Elice are going to be writing the book. As for the storyline, Today revealed that the show won’t be a full restaging of the Bombshell musical, but a look at the production’s creation; similar to the series, but also different. Robert Greenblatt (who originally helped develop Smash for television) says “It’s much funnier as a backstage musical,” Greenblatt said, while adding there will be other plot departures from the original series as well. “It’s less of an earnest soap opera and that may be what does the trick for it to become a long line, kind of hit show.” “”Smash’ is something that burned bright,” he ended with. “The good news? People didn’t just forget about it.”
As for what cast members from Smash would return for a series reboot, that remains to be seen. Debra Messing told The Huffington Post several years ago “Oh “Smash”…. That was a painful loss. I wish they had not fired the show creator (Theresa Rebeck) after the first season. She was the voice of the show. We were grateful to have those two years, and the cast was incredible. Just an amazing cast…”. During that May 2020 virtual reunion of the cast of Smash, Messing also said (per Variety) “I’m constantly asked, especially cause I was on a reboot, to go, ‘Ok? what about [‘Smash’]?’ If it’s in New York, I’m in.”. For her own part, McPhee is also ready to step back into the shoes of Karen Cartwright. She said “I’m definitely surprised by how the show has lived on for so many years after. But as you guys know, from my Twitter and Instagram, I’m more than happy to keep it going until the show comes back and I think we need to give the people what they want.”