Fans of Marilyn Monroe, Broadway musicals and thinly veiled sexual baseball metaphors were given a temporary reprieve from all that is 2020 on Wednesday with a special presentation from the cast of NBC’s Smash.
People, in partnership with The Actors Fund, aired a live stream of the short-lived series’ one-night-only concert recorded in New York City on June 8, 2015 — a full two years after Smash wrapped its two-season run. Naturally, this special event was introduced by Renee Zellweger.
To sweeten the pot, 15 cast members — Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty, Debra Messing, Christian Borle, Jack Davenport, Jeremy Jordan, Andy Mientus, Krysta Rodriguez, Leslie Odom Jr., Will Chase, Wesley Taylor, Brian d’Arcy James, Raza Jaffrey, Jaime Cepero and Ann Harada — reunited on Zoom during intermission for a conversation moderated by Difficult People‘s Julie Klausner. Again, naturally.
Here are a few nuggets we gleaned from the cast’s candid conversation:
* “The original script that I read had a lot of nudity,” McPhee recalled, referring to Smash‘s pre-NBC days; it was initially being developed during Bob Greenblatt’s days at Showtime. Added Messing, “It was sexy. It was definitely a cable show. I remember reading it and thinking, ‘This might be the best pilot script I’ve ever read. For this script, I will move to New York.’ And then we got the watered-down version, and I was like, ‘Where’s the sex?'”
* While discussing the show’s intense choreography, Davenport said he was only ever written one scene in which his character had to demonstrate dance moves for Karen. After seeing how it turned out, the producers realized that “sitting behind a desk and scowling worked better” for Derek.
* While most cast members look back on their Smash days with fondness, the same can’t be said for Cepero, who played infamous Season 1 villain Ellis. “Even today, people will see me on the street and just come up to me and tell me they hate me,” he said. “People tell me that means I did a good job.”
* Jordan admitted that the “hate-watching” aspect of the viewership was “difficult” to deal with, especially as the cast finished filming the end of Season 2. “Unfortunately, that negativity drowned out a lot of the positive stuff we did on the show.”
* Hands down, the thing Borle talks about the most from his time on Smash is “what a good kisser Leslie is.” To that, Odom replied, “I had to bring something to the table, so I brought the ability to kiss.”
How do you feel about Smash, now that we’ve (somehow) lived seven years without it? Drop a comment with your thoughts below.