A musical drama about a musical is becoming a musical. Smash, the 2012–2013 NBC series about a fictional Marilyn Monroe project's journey to Broadway, is being adapted for the stage. Though the show did not go off the air a critical or ratings darling, it now has its sights on the Great White Way, having since amassed a cult following among theatre enthusiasts.
The news arrives on the heels of the benefit stream of Bombshell in Concert, which featured songs from the fictional biomuscal and played Broadway for one night only in 2015. Proceeds from the concert went to The Actors Fund, and viewers of this week's stream were encouraged to donate to the organization's COVID-19 relief initiatives.
Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who wrote such songs featured in the show-within-a-show as "Let Me Be Your Star" and "Don't Forget Me," will flesh out the score for the new stage venture, promising to incorporate the signature numbers. The pair are also at work on a musical adaptation of another Marilyn Monroe-related title: Some Like It Hot. That show plans to open on Broadway next fall.
While Universal had revealed shortly after the 2015 concert that they were developing a full-length versioin of Bombshell, the long-gestating project has since taken more of a metatheatrical approach, panning out to focus on, like the series itself, the making of the biomusical. Familiar characters, like Marilyn hopefuls Karen Cartwright and Ivy Lynn (played on screen by Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty) and fictonial writers Tom Levitt and Julia Houston (Christian Borle and Debra Messing), will be featured, though the creators tease the musical will "depart liberally" from the source material. (Universal Theatrical Group is no longer attached to the project.)
Three industry titans who developed the NBC series—Steven Spielberg (who first pitched the series to NBC), Neil Meron (a stage-screen stalwart who frequently collaborated with the late Craig Zadan), and former NBC Entertainment Chair Robert Greenblatt—will serve as lead producers.
This marks Spielberg's first Broadway musical as a lead producer. "Smash is near and dear to my heart," he says, "and it seems fitting that a new musical inspired by what we did on the show would eventually come to the stage." His foray into movie musicals is on the horizon, with his West Side Story film currently slated to premiere in December.
The creative team will also include Tony winner Bob Martin (The Prom) and Rick Elice (The Cher Show), who will collaborate on the book; the two are also attached to a musical adaptation of The Princess Bride for Disney. Joshua Bergasse, who won an Emmy for his work on the series, returns to choreograph.