‘Smash’: ‘The Dress Rehearsal’ pits ‘Bombshell’ and ‘Hit List’ against each other while conflict erupts between Karen and Ana

Ivy in "The Dress Rehearsal."

Ivy in “The Dress Rehearsal.”

Houston, we have a problem.

In an episode all about ticking clocks and first performances Smash’s “The Dress Rehearsal” pinned friend against friend, past against present and blonde against brunette as Bombshell and Hit List count down to the performance that could make or break them.

After what seemed to be the first pro-Bombshell episode since last season, as the audience followed the lovable and charming Tom around the Lily Hayes Theatre preparing for Bombshell’s first public preview, the episode ends with the reading of a New York Times review.

Bombshell is out of date; Hit List is in style.

Julia has finally been caught in the act as Hit List’s dramaturg by a distraught Tom, who has been panicking about living in the shadow of Derek’s Bombshell, at their first preview celebration. He storms away from Julia and tells her to stay away from his apartment and spend the night with her boyfriend Scott, Hit List’s producer.

This Bombshell versus Hit List moment sets the tone for the rest of the season, as it’s stated in the New York Times article that Hit List is bound for Broadway. With the presence of competition between cast members (Ivy and Karen) and directors (Tom and Derek), the Bombshell and Hit List teams are sure to go head-to-head in a heated competition for audiences and acclaim leading up to this season’s finale episode, “The Tonys.”

One can’t help but notice the differences between Bombshell and Hit List (and their respective cast members) throughout their first performances as well. Ivy has decided, after a rehearsal mistake turned publicity stunt, to go naked on stage as Marilyn Monroe. It’s not her first time, she tells us – she was in Hair after all, where the entire cast was nude during a scene. Ivy’s nudity, even with its shock factor, helps draw the line between her and Karen. Karen was too afraid to remove her shirt in front of Derek in the pilot episode; Ivy willingly drops her clothing in front of an audience filled with unfamiliar faces.

Karen, who finally has her time to shine in Hit List, does nothing but complain about the way the show is going. She doesn’t want her songs given to Ana, who plays “The Diva.” Ana begins to embody this “diva” role offstage and puts Karen in her place by saying that she gets the songs because she’s more talented.

After seeing Ana’s gripping and haunting opening scene in Hit List, you won’t doubt that her talent far surpasses Karen’s. As “The Diva,” she slowly makes her way through a throng of people as she sings the song “Broadway, Here I Come.” She raises a gun and fires it into the audience, her face clouded over with jealousy.

Karen fights for the scene to be cut from the show, but Derek ignores her demand. Karen and Ana’s dynamic is beginning to mirror Ivy and Karen in the first season; Karen is becoming the overbearing star who can’t stand to see the ensemble member in the spotlight.

With both Bombshell and Hit List coming upon their opening night performances, will the casts put aside their differences for the sake of their shows? Will Julia and Tom make up? Will Ana and Karen continue to fight? Let us know what you think will happen in the comments!

Next week’s episode, “Opening Night,” will air Saturday, April 20th at 8pm.

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2 Responses

  1. Is anyone else as bored as I am by Jimmy & Karen? They’re both really pretty and completely uninteresting. And it’s unfortunate – I saw Jeremy Jordan in Newsies and thought he was fabulous, but his character reads like some privileged suburban kid’s fantasy of a bad boy druggie with a past, and it’s not nearly as intriguing as the realistic peeks at putting on a show. (Okay, not so realistic – how many Broadway shows would sacrifice a dozen paid orchestra seats for a fill-in-the-intermission gimmick that no one in the balconies could see? But it was still fun to watch) Interesting, I also thought Eileen’s snit about the NYTimes article was almost as petulant as Karen’s complaining about ‘losing her favorite song,’ but Ms. Huston can make anything compelling so I still applauded her. Let’s hope the writers give her a love interest who is worthy of her!

  2. I am beginning to get so irritated with Karen that I am glad she’s being shown up. First of all, she’s all over that douche Jimmy, who has nothing but trouble written all over him. Secondly, she’s completely blown off her friendship with Derek, not realizing how very MUCH he has been protecting her and throwing good things her way. Third, she is being very naive in her “relationship” with Jimmy. If she doesn’t see that Derek is the much more fascinating, deep, and dare I say even principled, man (not to mention sexier), she deserves what she gets!