‘Smash’: Top 10 reasons to tune in for Season 2

The cast of Smash.

The cast of Smash.

 

After a mediocre first season, Smash is under a complete makeover. Starting with its second season premiere, airing tonight at 9 p.m. on NBC, the show promises a smarter, sexier and Broadway-based season.

Here are the Top 10 reasons why fans and non-fans alike should be excited to jump on this show’s musical bandwagon.

10: A complete cast recording for Bombshell, the Marilyn Monroe musical that started it all, is due out February 12th. Composing duo Mark Shaiman and Scott Wittman are back for round 2 as the real-life Houston and Levitt, completing the rest of Bombshell’s tunes. And from what I’ve heard in episode one, the songs have gotten even better since last season! (I’m guilty of finding myself singing the season opener “Cut, Print…Moving On” on a daily basis.)

9: The addition of the new characters. Fictional writing team Jimmy Collins (Jeremy Jordan) and Kyle Bishop (Andy Mientus) provide a more modern take on the fabulous world of Broadway. Their story starts at the very beginning of their careers, so we can watch their complete journey to Broadway (in comparison to composing team Tom Levitt (Christian Borle) and Julia Houston (Debra Messing), who had already made a name for themselves with Heaven on Earth by the time we met them in Season One). The Collins and Bishop show, Hit List, appears to be the new Rent, with a driving rock score. We get a sampling of one of the songs, “Broadway, Here I Come,” sung by composer/lyricist Collins (and written for Smash by theater composer Joe Iconis) in the first episode. Karen’s new roommate, Ana Vargas (Krysta Rodriguez), is another interesting addition to the show. According to Rodriguez, Ana is trying to make her way onto the Broadway scene. Her journey will no doubt have us rooting for her to succeed, much like many did with Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) at the beginning of Season 1.

8: No bowling alley dance parties. Showrunner Josh Safran has said that there will be no out-of-character dance sequences, such as the ensemble bowling-turned-dance party or the infamous Bollywood fantasy number of last season. While I was a fan of the Bollywood number, the cast sure looked like they were having fun filming it, I’m glad that Smash will keep the singing/dancing outside of Bombshell and Hit List to a minimum.

7: The race to the Tonys. While it hasn’t been guaranteed that we’ll actually see the ceremony, Safran and his team stated that this season, we will get to see Bombshell’s race to the Tony Awards. But, as always, there’s bound to be some drama on the way there. Will Bombshell sweep all of its eligible categories? Or will another musical come out and steal the spotlight?

SMASH -- "The Fringe" Episode 206 -- Pictured: (l-r) Katharine McPhee as Karen Cartwright, Jeremy Jordan as Jimmy Collins -- (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)

SMASH — “The Fringe” Episode 206 — Pictured: (l-r) Katharine McPhee as Karen Cartwright, Jeremy Jordan as Jimmy Collins — (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)

 

6: With Julia losing beau Michael Swift (Will Chase) and husband Frank (Brian d’Arcy James) in the casualties between seasons, it’s been rumored that guest star Daniel Sunjata (whose character on the show remains unannounced) will have a budding romance with Julia. It appears that Jimmy (Jordan) and Karen will also be romantically involved this season. Frankly, I’m just happy that Safran doesn’t simply put Derek (Jack Davenport) and Karen together, or put Julia back with Michael or Frank. There is a lot of history behind all of those relationships—history that might have been too hard to overcome in order to make the relationships succeed. New relationships give these characters new chances this season.

5: Broadway on television. While seeing the workshop and out-of-town try-out last season was fun and all, I really wanted to see Broadway. This season, we get to see the road to Broadway, with episode one starting out with Bombshell booking a theater. We’ll get to see all the things that make Broadway so iconic, including a gypsy robe ceremony.

4: Michael Riedel is making several appearances. Riedel, a theater gossip columnist for the New York Post, will be appearing as himself through the season, wrecking havoc not only in the real theater world, but in the fictional one as well. In the first episode, he makes a very unwelcome appearance at a party, jumping out at an inopportune moment, saying, “Can I quote you on that?”

3: The talent behind Hit List’s music is astounding. Among those composing the tunes for the new show-within-a-show are: writing team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Joe Iconis, Drew Gasparini, Andrew McMahon, and Lucie Silvas. Pasek and Paul’s musical version of the classic film A Christmas Story recently finished its holiday Broadway engagement. Their song “Caught in the Storm,” sung by Karen is featured in the second episode of this season. Iconis has written rock show tunes for the past ten years, with stars like John Gallagher Jr. and Smash’s own Krysta Rodriguez performing his songs in various concerts. McMahon, the man behind the rock group Jack’s Mannequin, is making his musical theater-writing debut with Smash. Silvas co-wrote three songs on Katharine McPhee’s upcoming album, and is about to release a third album of her own. Gasparini has penned several popular cabaret shows, with stars like Lindsay Mendez performing his work. Smash is providing several writers a launching pad for their careers, and it will be fun to watch their careers take off after their songs are featured on the show.

The Dramaturg" Episode 203 -- Pictured: (l-r) Anjelica Huston as Eileen Rand, Daniel Sunjata as Peter Gilman, Jennifer Hudson as Veronica "Ronnie" Moore, Debra Messing as Julia Houston, Christian Borle as Tom Levitt -- (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)

The Dramaturg” Episode 203 — Pictured: (l-r) Anjelica Huston as Eileen Rand, Daniel Sunjata as Peter Gilman, Jennifer Hudson as Veronica “Ronnie” Moore, Debra Messing as Julia Houston, Christian Borle as Tom Levitt — (Photo by: Will Hart/NBC)

 

2: The wardrobe for all of the characters, including the younger cast members, is edgier and sexier. It’s on the cutting edge of fashion, much like the wardrobe on Safran’s other series, Gossip Girl. Julia will finally be dressing as though she belongs in this century, with all of her scarves and bulky sweaters suddenly disappearing. Tom is finally wearing something other than oversized blazers and ill-fitting sweaters, and his hair no longer looks as though it’s been flat ironed. However, Derek is still in his typical all-black.

1: This season is packed with a ridiculous amount of guest stars. Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson will have a several-episode arc as seasoned Broadway actress, Veronica Moore. Former Will and Grace star Sean Hayes will also have a several-episode arc as Terrance Falls, starring in the fictional musical Liaisons. Diva Bernadette Peters will be returning as Leigh Conroy, Ivy’s (Megan Hilty) spotlight-stealing mother. Tony Award-winner Liza Minnelli will appear as herself to sing a duet with Tom in the episode “The Surprise Party.” Rent vets Daphne Rubin-Vega and Jesse L. Martin will be appearing as a publicist and the director of the Manhattan Theatre Workshop, respectively. Hairspray film star Nikki Blonsky makes an appearance as a publicist; librettist Harvey Fierstein makes a cameo appearance as himself.

Leave a reply, and tell us what you’re looking forward to in Season 2 of Smash!

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