The pilot of “Smash” sets up a competition between two actresses — ingenue Karen (Katharine McPhee) and dues-paying Ivy (Megan Hilty) — for the role of a lifetime: the lead in a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe.
The buzzed-about show, which premieres Feb. 6 on NBC, is likely to generate a good amount of talk among fans about who should get the part. In fact, creator and executive producer Theresa Rebeck says, the show’s crew even took sides.
“We didn’t know [during production of the pilot] where we were thinking of going,” Rebeck said Friday (Jan. 6) at the TV critics winter press tour. “I really tossed it into the air and wasn’t thinking about it. I thought, I need to make this pilot, and then if we’re lucky enough to get on the air, we’ll think about the rest of it later.”
That didn’t stop people on set from peppering Rebeck with opinions, though. “While we were making the pilot, on set there was actually Team Ivy and Team Karen. People would come to me and say, ‘I think Ivy should get it,’ or ‘I think Karen should get it. Who’s going to get it?’ I was like, ‘I don’t know — life is long.'”
“Smash” will reveal who gets the part in episode 2, but Rebeck says that won’t necessarily be the last word on the subject.
“What we’re finding as we proceed deeper and deeper into the story is that these questions are not answered that simply,” Rebeck says. “What everyone talks about around these two characters is … each of them creates a different Marilyn, and why that different Marilyn is appropriate in these situations and these other situations. It’s been very fertile soil.”