SMASH Fact or Fiction Episodes 11 and 12 ("The Dress Rehearsal" and "Opening Night")

%%wppa%% %%photo=20%% %%size=0.5%% %%align=left%%   SMASH’s second season is winding down and we all wonder if it might be the last.  No matter, actors all over New York are thankful for another season of potential TV work, hopeful for a third and I’m delighted to host our favorite blogosphere TV gameshow.  We’d better play while we can because as we all know, SMASH is much more fun when you play Fact or Fiction.  Did you miss last week?  Go here to do your catch up reading.   Everyone, get your buzzers out.  We have big prizes behind door number one so I hope you spent your week studying up on theater facts and fictions.

Please take a moment to read the game rules before activating your buzzers.

I am here to remind you that I am in total support of the fact that the show is, in fact, a TV show–a fictional drama–not a documentary. Right? Right. Good. Please initialize your understanding of this fact here: ______. We are not out to do anything except use the show as a launching point for fun conversation about the theater world. Based on the success of A Chorus Line and other backstage shows, we here at My Own Space assume there is a basic appreciation and curiosity of what happens behind the scenes on Broadway. Or else, one might rightly ask, what in the world are you doing reading this blog. Right? Right. If you can’t sing at least part of the song “Tomorrow”, you’re in the wrong place, tough guy, and maybe you should go here instead.  Truth be told, you don’t really even need to watch the show to play along, but you might be confused at points and you will not win the grand prize which is hidden behind door number two and is probably aisle seats to the first preview of Bombshell.

My name is Sharon Wheatley, I’ve done some Broadway shows, and I will be your host. Be sure to read the comments after the blog because that’s where I will be debated and corrected by all my insider-y Broadway friends and it is half the fun.  Reminder that we keep things clean and informative here on My Own Space.

Cell phones off.  Game buzzers on.

Here we go. Lights up…cue theme music….

I will make a series of statements based on events in this weeks episode, and then give my opinion on whether the statements are “fact” or “fiction”. You play along. Get your buzzers ready.  We will cover two episodes in this blog post, so I hope you stretched.

From Episode 11, The Dress Rehearsal.

1)  An “invited dress rehearsal” is a rehearsal before the first preview performance, and it is by invitation only.  It is supposed to be supportive but is incredibly stressful.  Fact or Fiction?

Fact.

Personally, I think invited dress rehearsals are a version of hell.  Others might disagree, and certainly the idea of them is to be helpful and supportive.  I haven’t watched the episode in a while, but I think some character makes a comment about what a terrible idea it is to make the first public performance in front of all of your peers.  Why?  The invited dress is full of savvy theater insiders who know when it is right and when it is wrong, and are (let’s all be honest) quick to judge.  They talk about the mistakes made during the invited dress in this episode, and that is something that happens frequently since often it is the first time all the design elements come together in “real time” (no stopping).  There is almost always a speech in the beginning, the most recent invited dress I attended was for Annie and the director took a moment to thank the producers, the crew, the cast, his creative team, etc.  In addition, in this day and age, there is an appeal to not tweet or place anything on social media since it is still a “rehearsal” and not a performance.  Finally they do explain that there will be mistakes and the show might stop if needed with technical elements re-run for accuracy.

To be in the audience, it is a blast.  To be onstage is both incredibly exhilarating (I finally get to hear where the audience is going to laugh!!) and totally stressful (oh my god.  They didn’t laugh.  What am I doing wrong??  Do they hate it?? We’re going to close.)

I’ll tell you one thing that every invited dress rehearsal has in common, and it was not shown on SMASH.  They are LOUD.  The minute the lights go down, the audience starts to scream and clap.  Imagine the final show of American Idol (does anyone still watch that?).  You know how the fans go nuts?  That’s what most dress rehearsals are like.  So when the lights dimmed and Ivy came out to no applause or cheering, I knew I had to tell you.  In reality, the place would have gone nuts.  Us theater folk are supportive in a loud way.

2)  A composer composes on a piano with a pencil.  Fact or fiction?

Depends on the composer, but in this case, I am going to say Fiction.

If a composer needs a song f-a-s-t, I’m going to guess that he or she is going to enter it into a computer and play on a keyboard IF the composer is a contemporary composer and the show is primarily a rock show.  I am open to be totally wrong on this, it just jumped out at me when I saw young Jeremy Jordan at a piano with staff paper and a pencil.  Does any contemporary composer still use a pencil and piano?  It just seemed so……Cole Porter.

Let’s talk about nudity in a show.  

3)  First things first.  Under our costumes actresses are butt naked.  Fact or Fiction?

Fiction.

There are entire stores devoted to undergarments for the Broadway community.  It is its own cottage industry.  The idea that Ivy’s costume could malfunction and underneath she would be completely naked was hilarious to me (and many of my friends).  If that dress slid off like that you would be privy to garments including but not limited to: 1) A microphone held on by a special body stocking attached to her inner thigh, or on the small of her back, although frequently mic pacs are now hidden in wig caps, so okay, maybe no mic.  2) Spanx or a full of girdle 50’s style (come on, she IS playing Marilyn Monroe), or at the VERY LEAST some kind of body stocking because she appears next “naked” in bed with JFK.  No way would she be completely naked under that costume.  No way.

4) If the producer and director wanted to keep the nude scene, they would appeal to the actress herself.  Fact or Fiction?

Tough call on this, but I am going to say that they might have the initial conversation with the actress, but then everything would get thrown back to the agent and the General Manager for a re-negotiation.  IF Ivy decided to do the nude scene, she would go back and try to get more money, or at the very least, additional compensation for “upkeep” which might include waxing and a gym membership to stay toned.  You think I’m kidding?  I have 5 actresses on speed dial who would confirm the laundry list of things they would ask for if they were suddenly going to appear naked 8 times a week onstage, especially if that decision happened after the initial negotiation.  It would also have to go to the Actors’ Union because a “nudity clause” would have to be added to the contract.

Have you wondered how it would impact the understudies?  That was the first thing I thought about.  Would the understudies have to do the nudity?  Maybe not, but if, as in SMASH’s case, if they suddenly saw an uptick of ticket sales based on the nudity, you can bet the understudies are going to feel a ton of pressure to do it.

Here is the official AEA language provided by my Deep Throat Company Manager friend:  The understudy question is interesting because the AEA contract states that “Actor shall not appear nude or perform acts of a sexual nature in the course of a stage presentation unless the Actor has been advised and gives written consent by the time of the Actor’s signing the contract.” So you would have to negotiate with all the understudies too.

One has to ask. Again. Where are the agents?  (And as a side note, I have to say I cracked up when Sam’s agent called to tell him he wasn’t performing the first preview as a swing…..that call would come from the stage manager…..so I was like, wait, SMASH, after 2 seasons you are finally having an agent call an actor and it’s about the wrong thing?  It isn’t Ivy’s agent calling about the renegotiation for the nudity?  Wouldn’t have that been a better and more interesting scene to see Ivy and her agent making a list of demands for her to do the nudity?  Hilarious.  But I digress….)  Oh wait, and just to cover this, since we are on the subject of swings because I’ve heard from several of my swing friends about this….SMASH depicts being a swing as the lowest form of actor in a show, like they are bottom feeders, like a person would rather be unemployed that be a swing, and I think I speak for every actor who has swung a show when I say tacky, tacky, tacky. SMASH.  Shame on you.  By the way, for the up and coming actors reading this, being a swing is a great job.  You get paid more money than anyone else in the chorus and you don’t get burned out from playing the same chorus role over and over.  Great job.  Okay? Okay.

5) A number would be restaged at the last minute to include crawling through aisle seats.  Fact or fiction.

My Deep Throat Company manager friend had a thought on why that was fiction:  “They could never have the time to light the 2nd act number and there isn’t a Producer in the world who is going to give up that many seats a night for a number. Maybe one or two but not 8 or 10 aisle seats! Jujamcyn has a policy of selling aisle seats at higher prices than regular orch seats and all of those seats would be premium locations. We’re talking a reduced gross of $2-4k per show.”

Let’s move on to “Opening Night”  I only have a couple of observations.

1) Reviews are written before opening night.  Fact or Fiction?

Fact!  Yes.  They come the week before, not on opening night.  I think we covered that in a prior post, but it bears repeating because I think it is interesting.

2) Other shows would be invited to the opening night performance?  Fact or Fiction?  

Fiction, and here is why.  In my experience, the only way another cast–we’re talking the entire cast– would be invited to an opening night is if the show is produced by the same producing company.  In that event, the entire cast might get invited, but usually they will only attend the party because they, themselves, have a performance at the same time.  Why would a producer invite another show?  Easy.  Double dip on press.  You send your currently running show cast down the red carpet with your newly opened cast and you get press for both shows.  Right?  Example:  When I was doing Avenue Q we were invited to the In The Heights opening night party because they were both produced by The Producing Office.  We brought the puppets for photo ops.

Deep Throat Company Manager said this:  “Usually no one but investors, guests of company members, staff, agents and celebs get invited. If they are playing a huge house They might invite the cast of a show the same producers are involved in. Highly unlikely that Hit List would be invited except that Derek is the choreographer of record on the show and he might have pitched it to Eileen.”

I still say doubtful because all that Eileen has done for the last two episodes is complain that Hit List is getting better press than her so THE VERY LAST THING she would want is Hit List any where NEAR her show.

Final question. (Whew this has been a long one.  I hope you all had snacks to get you through).

4) So much talk about the New York Times.  Is it really true that a show will close without a great New York Times review?

Yes, a NYT review is important, and can seriously impact things like word of mouth and Tony nominations.  Is it CRITICAL?  No. Many shows currently running on Broadway (including the current juggernauts The Phantom of the Opera and Mamma Mia) got a lukewarm review from the NYT, yet ran because of, who knows why, but I’d guess good timing and great advertising.

On the flip side, if I tried to list the number of shows that got a rave in the NYT, but went on to close, my WordPress page would crash.  Many, many great shows close.  Many mediocre shows run. Why?  Eileen has it right, it’s all the way the game is played by the producer.

Before I let you all go, a couple of quick housekeeping things from me, Sharon Wheatley, author of this blog.

First of all, I’d like to invite you all to my first-ever solo show (which isn’t a solo show because I have excellent, excellent back up singers).  It is one night only Wednesday, May 15th at 9:30pm at 54 Below.  Please join me.  If you like this blog, you’ll like this show.  Buy tickets now, it is selling out.

Go HERE:  http://54below.com/wordpress/?artist=sharon-wheatley

Second of all, I apologize for the delays.  My husband and children and I are moving to California and our life has been a zoo.  Speaking of zoos, if you are in the Houston area, my show Avenue Zoo opens in mid June and runs through the summer at The Houston Zoo.  I am running a half marathon this weekend (woo hoo!) and then going straight to Houston for casting, so do not expect my next blog until Thursday of next week.  I hope you understand, friends.

Until next time,

Sharon

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted in Smash | 12 Comments

SMASH Fact or Fiction? Episodes 9 and 10 A Short Hiatus.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’ve watched episodes 9 and 10 and after much thought I’ve decided to pass on writing about them.  I have them somewhat  written and they are terrible, partially because the episodes themselves were not particularly based on the business side of things, partially because what business stuff was in there was material we’ve already covered, but mostly because as a writer I am uninspired to even get riled up enough to write.

I kind of just feel like,** “Meh.”

**Meh is an interjection, often used as an expression of indifference or boredom. It can also be used as a verb (rendering something uninteresting, boring or useless to the beholder) and an adjective (meaning mediocre, boring, or apathetic).[1] ~Wikipedia

Meh.

I could write about how completely impossible it would be to add a production number with singing while swinging on silks over an audience.  Especially given how many hours notice?  3?  I mean…how would you possible get the silks strung up in time, let alone rehearse it?

But you guys already know that.

Same for teaching Liza a song with that many words in only a few hours.

Not gonna happen.

But it was sensational to see Bernadette and Liza on TV, wasn’t it?  I just love it.  See them live if you get the chance,  they do not disappoint.

It was more Michael Riedel, more sucking up to the New York Times (both Facts), and then more of Tom-the-composer-turned-terrible-and-incompetent-director doing unbelievable things.  More Jeremy Jordan being a jerk.

Same, same, same.

This is not goodbye, it’s just a hiatus until we have something interesting and new to talk about.

I thank you all for swinging by.

Posted in Smash | 7 Comments

SMASH Fact or Fiction Season 2, Episode 8 "The Bells and Whistles"

%%wppa%% %%photo=20%% %%size=0.5%% %%align=left%% I APOLOGIZE FOR THE DELAY IN BLOGS FOR EPISODE 9 AND 10!  I AM COMBINING THEM AND WILL WRITE A LONG POST AS SOON AS I HAVE WATCHED THE SATURDAY EPISODE.  LOOK FOR IT TO PUBLISH MONDAY NIGHT!!  (P.S. Sorry to give you a “my dog ate my homework” excuse, but we decided to move to Southern California this week and I have been backed up by making moving plans.  I promise to be back on track and better!”  SMASH’s second season is winding down and we all wonder if it might be the last.  No matter, actors all over New York are thankful for another season of potential TV work, hopeful for a third and I’m delighted to host our favorite blogosphere TV gameshow.  We’d better play while we can because as we all know, SMASH is much more fun when you play Fact or Fiction.  Did you miss last week?  Go here to do your catch up reading.   Everyone, get your buzzers out.  We have big prizes behind door number one so I hope you spent your week studying up on theater facts and fictions.

Please take a moment to read the game rules before activating your buzzers.

I am here to remind you that I am in total support of the fact that the show is, in fact, a TV show–a fictional drama–not a documentary. Right? Right. Good. Please initialize your understanding of this fact here: ______. We are not out to do anything except use the show as a launching point for fun conversation about the theater world. Based on the success of A Chorus Line and other backstage shows, we here at My Own Space assume there is a basic appreciation and curiosity of what happens behind the scenes on Broadway. Or else, one might rightly ask, what in the world are you doing reading this blog. Right? Right. If you can’t sing at least part of the song “Tomorrow”, you’re in the wrong place, tough guy, and maybe you should go here instead.  Truth be told, you don’t really even need to watch the show to play along, but you might be confused at points and you will not win the grand prize which is hidden behind door number two and is probably swingable lamps in a bar.

My name is Sharon Wheatley, I’ve done some Broadway shows, and I will be your host. Be sure to read the comments after the blog because that’s where I will be debated and corrected by all my insider-y Broadway friends and it is half the fun.  Reminder that we keep things clean and informative here on My Own Space.

Cell phones off.  Game buzzers on.

Here we go. Lights up…cue theme music….

I will make a series of statements based on events in this weeks episode, and then give my opinion on whether the statements are “fact” or “fiction”. You play along. Get your buzzers ready.

Let’s start with an easy one.

1)  Debra Messing announced her job for next season, a sit-com on CBS.  Fact or fiction.

Fact.

2)  Thereby we should all assume that Debra Messing will not be a part of SMASH if it is miraculously renewed.  Fact or fiction?

Well I say Fact, but according to Debra messing that is fiction.  Here’s what she said:

“…despite her new commitment to a CBS comedy pilot, the actress says Smash is still her first priority. “CBS was wonderful enough to allow me to do this in second position, so they know that if Smash comes back, that’s where I will be.”

But enough gossip, let’s go on with the show.

Shall we start with the obvious one?  No, no, let’s warm up first.

3)  Parties with musical theater performers sometimes turn into mini-performances.  Fact or fiction?

Fact.  So I have to tell you that while I was watching the episode I actually had the thought that I am so tired of musical theater performers being portrayed as self-involved exhibitionists always looking for a chance to perform.  I stood high on my soap box and thought about how many times I’ve been to a party with other actors and no one sings or dances and we all act like adults and have meaningful conversations.  Then, 5 minutes later, my Mom came upstairs (I am visiting my parents this week) and said, “Did you see the part of the show where they are at the party and that boy sang that great song?  It made me smile because it reminded me of the time we were in your friend Kristen’s apartment and you guys were singing and I could see New York City out the window.  It was so festive and fun and seemed just like that party.”

Nailed.  By my own traitor mother.

Signed,

Self-involved exhibitionist musical theater performer.

My mother aside, I would like to take a moment and say the two things I liked about the show and they were both performance related.  One was Leslie Odom Jr. nailing it in the party scene.  Man, when SMASH gets it right, it is so right.  I thought that song and his performance were sensational.  I also liked the choreography in Jeremy Jordan song, (although as someone pointed out to me today, if he was on the east coast and she was on the west coast, they needed to swap places.)

Can we pause the game for a moment and all just rejoice that Megan Hilty has returned as the rightful owner of the role of Marilyn Monroe?  I could never get behind Karen as Marilyn.  Hilty has been, in my eyes, the slam dunk choice from the first episode.

Unpause.

Now to the one we’ve all been waiting for.

4) An actor can leave a show, just up and quit, for another show.  Fact or fiction.

I would like for every agent, casting director, producer and actor who has ever tried to get out of a contract to say it with me:  Fiction.

Look.  You can’t just quit.  There are real live binding contracts in theater.  I mean, maybe–just maybe–if you have a really nice producer you can get out of a show for another one, but it is a few and far between situation.  There are ways you can negotiate clauses into your contract and I will try to hit some highlights, but I can’t get them all.  I’ll start with how you might be able to do it, and then I will tell you why the givens in SMASH makes it so unlikely.  And then I will break it down further and tell you what is even more ridiculous.

Ready?

There are clauses in some of the Actors’ Equity contracts that allow for an actor to move from one job to another for a more lucrative contract (better known as More Remunerative Employment or MRE)  but that clause does not apply in this case because Sam is moving from a principal role on a tour to a (most likely) featured ensemble role on Broadway (a contract grade down).  Also, MRE is most usually applied to short term jobs like–you get a guest star spot on a TV show and want to take 2 days off to do the shoot.  Also, as I scanned the contracts, I do not think this applies to the highest Equity contracts (Production contracts) which the First National Tour of Book of Mormon would fall under.  Additionally (and this is the obvious one) no one, no way, could get out of a principal role on a tour to do a job on Broadway that fast.  Even if you have specifically negotiated something like, “If I am offered a job in the Broadway production of Bombshell, I can give 2 weeks notice and leave.” I’m not saying it couldn’t ever, ever happen, but there would be tears and hand wringing, and begging involved and it wouldn’t be treated in the “I’ll just quit!” way it was treated on SMASH.  I have never been in this exact position (but I have friends who have) so if anyone has more specifics or corrections to this, write in and I will post it (or read the comments).

In that same vain, getting my vote for worst plot point of this episode is the who idea of making Tom such an idiot that he would gleefully offer his ex-lover a highly paid job in a show without the okay (or knowledge, in Eileen’s case) of the rest of the creative team and, uh, the PRODUCER.  Is Tom planning to pay Sam out of his pocket?  The whole idea that they’ve taken the savvy character of Tom and suddenly made him the theater  village idiot was distressing and inconsistent with his previous behavior.  And really, what did we gain by the whole plot point?  Nada.  Except that it was bad, bad, bad.

5)  Once cast in a show in a featured role it is possible to audition for a bigger role.  Fact or fiction?

Fact.  Just ask any actress who has played Nessa Rose in Wicked and auditioned for Glinda or Elphaba.  It happens.

Does it happen while dancing on a bar?

Oh sure.  Yes.  I was cast in The Phantom of the Opera while singing Glitter and Be Gay for Hal Prince at a Karaoke Bar on Bleeker Street.  Completely normal.  Happens all the time.

Did you all catch Daphne Rubin-Vega (the original Mimi in Rent) as the nasty publicist?

And even better, are you guys ready for the return of Bernadette Peters as Ivy’s mother?  And on that note, I have to write a direct plea to the writers of SMASH.

Dear Writers of SMASH,

Please trash every other story line and focus only on Ivy and her mother for the duration of the series.  Give us stunning performances by Hilty and Peters.  Let us cheer and scream with musical theater geek joy.  Go out with a shred of dignity being the show we all wanted you to be.

Sincerely,

Ever-hopeful Sharon Wheatley, supporter of SMASH (until last week when I finally fell off the wagon in a blaze of fury).

 

 

 

 

Posted in Smash | 5 Comments

SMASH Fact or Fiction Season 2, Episode 7 "Musical Chairs"

%%wppa%% %%photo=20%% %%size=0.5%% %%align=left%% SMASH is renewed for a second season, Fact or Fiction?  That’s a fact, Jack.  Actors all over New York are thankful for another season of potential TV work and I’m delighted to host our favorite blogosphere TV gameshow.  Based on the shaky ratings this season, we’d better play while we can because as we all know, SMASH is much more fun when you play Fact or Fiction.  Did you miss last week?  Go here to do your catch up reading.   Everyone, get your buzzers out.  This season we have big prizes behind door number one so I hope you spent your week studying up on theater facts and fictions.

Please take a moment to read the game rules before activating your buzzers.

I am here to remind you that I am in total support of the fact that the show is, in fact, a TV show–a fictional drama–not a documentary. Right? Right. Good. Please initialize your understanding of this fact here: ______. We are not out to do anything except use the show as a launching point for fun conversation about the theater world. Based on the success of A Chorus Line and other backstage shows, we here at My Own Space assume there is a basic appreciation and curiosity of what happens behind the scenes on Broadway. Or else, one might rightly ask, what in the world are you doing reading this blog. Right? Right. If you can’t sing at least part of the song “Tomorrow”, you’re in the wrong place, tough guy, and maybe you should go here instead.

Truth be told, you don’t really even need to watch the show to play along, but you might be confused at points and you will not win the grand prize which is hidden behind door number two and is probably the closing notice for Liaisons.

My name is Sharon Wheatley, I’ve done some Broadway shows, and I will be your host. Be sure to read the comments after the blog because that’s where I will be debated and corrected by all my insider-y Broadway friends and it is half the fun.  Reminder that we keep things clean and informative here on My Own Space.

Cell phones off.  Game buzzers on.

Here we go. Lights up…cue theme music….

I will make a series of statements based on events in this weeks episode, and then give my opinion on whether the statements are “fact” or “fiction”. You play along. Get your buzzers ready.

(Hello all, it’s me, I’m back and thank you to Jacob Brent for beautifully talking the reigns last week.  I’ll be honest, this week went a heavily into “fiction” territory (and what is with all the auto-tuning lately?) but I will attempt to give a fair and balanced report of fact and fiction.  Who misses Theresa Rebeck’s writing?  Me.  I do.  This lady right here.  But I digress, let’s do this.)

1)  Line readings are a normal part of rehearsal.  Fact or fiction?

Fact.  (Hey!  We got a fact!) And before all you actors get mad at me, we all know that directors (more often than we would like) give a line reading.  Sometimes it is a small suggestion, and sometimes (as we saw happen with Tom) the director gets up with the dreaded ,”Here.  Let me be you.”  and then acts out exactly what they want to see the actor do.

Maybe you are wondering what the big deal is with line readings?  I mean, what is the big deal in just telling the actor how to say it?  That’s the director’s job, right?  Not exactly.  The idea is that the director is supposed to help the actor “find” their performance because in an ideal situation it should come from the actors own instincts and emotional life, not just be a regurgitation of something someone wanted.  The best of the best directors know how to inspire and cajole a performance out of an actor without having to resort to telling them exactly how to say a line.

This leads us directly to another director related question.

2)  It is common for a composer to take over as director.  Fact or fiction.

You don’t need me to tell you this, do you?  Fiction.  Really fiction.  And in fact, if any of you can name a case where a composer took over as director for a Broadway show, I will personally come to your house and clean your toilets because that–I’m sorry–might have to be just about the most ridiculous plot point we’ve yet encountered in SMASH.  But hey, the season is not over yet, and actually this blog post isn’t over yet, so who knows?? Maybe we’ll be able to top it (the tension builds….)

I would have loved to see Christian Borle’s face when he got his script.  He HAD to have said, “So…..wait.  Tom’s the director now? ”

But let’s move on.

I know.  I’ve been so politically correct for so long and now in one blog post I am showing my true colors, but I don’t know.  Something about last night’s episode pushed me over the edge.  It’s why I had to delay posting today (and I apologize to those of you who were waiting.)  I’ll try to be Switzerland and stick to the facts and the fictions.  I’ll try (but SMASH, you are making it hard!).

3)  The book writer/lyricist of the show would be the responsible party to get the director choreographer to sign a contract stating that it was okay to use his choreography after he split ways with the show.  Fact or fiction?

Fiction.  Again, where is the General Manager and where are the agents?  Hey–have we talked about General Managers yet?  Do you know what their job is?  Let’s discuss this for a second because God knows you aren’t learning about them on SMASH.  In an absolute nutshell, a General Manager executes all of the business aspects of the show, including (but not limited to) the hiring of EVERYONE including union negotiations, contract negotiations, payroll, box office and more.  They run the show.  For a more complete description, go here.

If this situation in SMASH were real, here is how it would go down.

1)  First of all, it probably would be a non-issue because (according to a reliable friend)  Derek would have already signed a contract sharing his work to the Producer.  My friend said: “The work (meaning the choreography) belongs to the Choreographer but the Producer has the irrevocable right to use the choreography for any production of the play that the Choreographer will receive payment for – I’m not sure they really needed him to sign a rider as that would have been covered under his original agreement but they would have to pay him his fee and royalties to keep the choreography in the show.”

2)  If that contract rider needed to be signed, that would have been a conversation between the General Manager and Derek’s agent.  It just would not go down like that at all, but clearly this is a TV show, so there you go.  They wanted a dramatic intervention at a restaurant between Jack Davenport and Debra Messing.

By the way, Jacob wants to comment on how hard SMASH is working to make sure Sean Hayes (Jack) and Debra Messing (Grace) are never on screen together.  At this point I say, Hey!  Bring in Megan Mullaley and Will and let’s just watch Will and Grace.  That was a good show, NBC.  Let’s do that one again.

Oops.  I slipped again.

Back to the facts.  Okay!

4)  They give notes to actors while sitting on the steps in the lobby.  Fact or fiction?

Fact!  Yay!  I liked this and it is very authentic.  I can’t tell you how many note sessions I’ve had while sitting on the stairs in a Broadway lobby.  Very normal because sometimes they are working on something technical in the theater or the ushers are getting ready for the show, or whatever.  Bonus points to whoever can name those lobby stairs (although someone did write in and comment that the theater is the Broadway but the stage door is the Music Box!).

5)  Jeremy Jordan’s character is an idiot.  Fact or fiction?

WHY ARE THEY MAKING HIM SO UNLIKEABLE????

6)  Actors read Broadway message boards.  Fact or fiction?  

Is the Pope Catholic?  Does a fish have gills?

Fact.

7)  The Hit List set is actually the set of Ghost.  Fact or fiction?

Fiction, but good guess.

8)  Two actors might get together moments before opening night and make a decision to completely change the tone of a show and consult with no one and just go on and perform it completely differently than it has been rehearsed.  Fact or fiction.

Oh, fact.  You know, Cats was originally rehearsed to be Dogs but a couple of actors got together and decided to change things up before opening night, so they all went out and acted like cats instead.

By the way (and I know this is a TV show) but I just have to comment on the fact that, oh you know, the entire number was choreographed as a farce, the costumes looked like a farce, the whole idea that it was being “changed” in the moment was completely unbelievable, although the IDEA of it was funny.  The idea that a famous actor would go out there and try to save his own ass on opening night by performing the show the way he wanted to–that is possible and I’m sure HAS happened, but it came off as something between what they rehearsed and what they wanted the big change to be.  I wanted to be watching whatever Ivy was laughing at in the wings, but the truth was…it was just bad.

But, the big breasted woman was a terrific character actress named Kathy Fitzgerald who is hilarious and deserved much better treatment than having her breasts slapped and spat on.  If you want to know the honest to God truth, for me that moment was the SMASH breaking point.  She’s so talented and deserved some great material.  Instead, she was just wasted.

Another friend of mine was also in this episode, Seth Rudetsky, playing himself and doing the interview with Karen and Tom.  If you have SirrusXM radio, you have to listen to his Broadway show because he is (as he would say) ah-mah-zing.

Speaking of Karen and Tom, let’s get to the final question of the night.

9)  If you have your first lead on Broadway, and the show is being built around you, and before that you were a nobody and worked at a coffee shop, you just might quit the show to the composer-turned-director while standing on the street corner because he’s better friends with another actress.  Fact or fiction?

Every actress in New York has done that.  In fact, I confess it…I was supposed to play Elphaba in the original cast of Wicked, but I gave it up when I saw Joe Mantello laugh at Idina Menzel’s joke.  You know….it’s normal to give up a career changing part like that.  And then I decided to do an off-broadway show in a basement.  It worked out fine, you just have to keep the faith.  You should always turn down that Broadway lead.

As you may know, SMASH is moving to Saturday nights.  I think we all know that is not a good sign for any show.  This blog will now appear on Mondays.

For the next post in this series, go here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Smash | 21 Comments

SMASH Fact or Fiction Season 2, Episode 6 "The Fringe"

%%wppa%% %%photo=20%% %%size=0.5%% %%align=left%% SMASH is renewed for a second season, Fact or Fiction?  That’s a fact, Jack.  Actors all over New York are thankful for another season of potential TV work and I’m delighted to host our favorite blogosphere TV gameshow.  Based on the shaky ratings this season, we’d better play while we can because as we all know, SMASH is much more fun when you play Fact or Fiction.  Did you miss last week?  Go here to do your catch up reading.   Everyone, get your buzzers out.  This season we have big prizes behind door number one so I hope you spent your week studying up on theater facts and fictions.

Please take a moment to read the game rules before activating your buzzers.

I am here to remind you that I am in total support of the fact that the show is, in fact, a TV show–a fictional drama–not a documentary. Right? Right. Good. Please initialize your understanding of this fact here: ______. We are not out to do anything except use the show as a launching point for fun conversation about the theater world. Based on the success of A Chorus Line and other backstage shows, we here at My Own Space assume there is a basic appreciation and curiosity of what happens behind the scenes on Broadway. Or else, one might rightly ask, what in the world are you doing reading this blog. Right? Right. If you can’t sing at least part of the song “Tomorrow”, you’re in the wrong place, tough guy, and maybe you should go here instead.

Truth be told, you don’t really even need to watch the show to play along, but you might be confused at points and you will not win the grand prize which is hidden behind door number five and is probably a Spotco show poster.

My name is Sharon Wheatley, I’ve done some Broadway shows, and I will be your host. Be sure to read the comments after the blog because that’s where I will be debated and corrected by all my insider-y Broadway friends and it is half the fun.  Reminder that we keep things clean and informative here on My Own Space.  If you want to trash talk there are exactly 5,872,017 Broadway message boards where you can do that.

Cell phones off.  Game buzzers on.

Here we go. Lights up…cue theme music….

I will make a series of statements based on events in this weeks episode, and then give my opinion on whether the statements are “fact” or “fiction”. You play along. Get your buzzers ready.

WAIT!  Pause the game buzzers!

Hello Smashers my name is Jacob Brent and I will be your host for the this episode of Smash: Fact or Fiction. When Sharon asked me to guest blog I couldn’t say yes fast enough. After all I already watch the show and often end up energetically speaking to my television saying “Thats not true.” or “No one would ever do that!” or “No one signs the inside of a Playbill!” This is usually followed by an immediate text to Sharon saying, you have to blog about that. So tonight I make my debut as a guest blogger and suddenly, I’m getting nervous. I totally understand what Joan Rivers must have felt like when she would host for Johnny Carson or Doctor Phil when Oprah would let him take the reins for an episode. I mean we haven’t even had an understudy run, or a costume fitting, Do I pick up that prop on stage right or stage left? Oh goodness, the overture is starting! No time to be nervous now……Here we go!  Activate your buzzers!

1)  Would a show like Hit List be performed in a basement with only 10 hours of rehearsal before the first performance?  Fact or Fiction?

FACT – Oh please, you can’t throw a nickel in New York without hitting a theater festival. It’s also very possible that your show would be performing in some out of the way theater space and with very limited time to set up. In fact, it’s probably going to be on some street that neither you or anybody else has ever heard of but your going to play it off like everyone has. When someone asks, where’s your show? You’re going to answer, “at The Box.” Where’s That? on Chrystie street….where’s that?

Here is what one festival says about rehearsal and tech time.

You will be responsible for loading in your own scenic and costume elements on the day of your first show. On that day, you’ll have access to the space from 8 or 9 a.m. until your curtain at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. During those hours, you’ll need to load in your set and costumes, tech your show, perform a complete dress run with all technical elements, break for dinner… and then, open!

In addition to the time limitations of having only one day in the space to tech your show, be aware that you’ll be performing in repertory with other shows and will have to strike your show to a storage position within 30 minutes following each performance. Before each show after your first, you’ll have 60 minutes to set up your set and sound check (this hour INCLUDES 10-15 minutes to open the house and seat audience members).

This episode included the lovely and exceptionally talented VEANNE COX! She plays Megan Hilty’s mother in the musical that she’s rehearsing with my doppelgänger Sean Hayes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stopped on the street and asked if I was him. I hate to just say no because usually they’re usually tourists who are so pumped that they might have found a hidden celebrity. I mean they are just devastated so I tend to say no, I’m not him but he’s my brother. To which there eyes light up with excitement and although its not a full on celebrity meeting its the closest they might have on their once in a life time trip to New York. It often ends up with them saying, “I knew it! I knew you looked like him.” I generally just say thank you and I will tell him you said hello. But back to Veanne. Two summers ago I got to work with her at the O’Neill Theater Festival and she is one of the funniest people I know without ever trying to be funny. She’s also that actress who’s in every movie but you might not ever know it. Here’s a brief bio –

Her Broadway debut was in the Marvin Hamlisch musical Smile (1986). She appeared in the Roundabout Theatre revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Company (1995), as “Amy”, for which she received a Tony Award nomination, and both The Public Theater (2003) and the Broadway productions of Caroline, or  Change (2004) as Rose. Cox appeared in the made-for-television movie Cinderella (1997) as one of the stepsisters, and later acted in Erin Brockovich as Theresa Dallavale. She has appeared in episodes of many television series, such as Boston Legal, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Seinfeld, and Judging Amy.

She’s drier than toast and has the ability to make lines that aren’t funny, FUNNY! Love her and so glad she’s on the show!

2) Could a producer keep an actor from doing another show? Fact or Fiction?

FACT! It’s called a contract and you have signed it. Although I don’t have absolute proof of this, I feel like any creative staff would not allow you to work on another show especially while the current show you are working on is in the development stage and even more so if you are the lead. There is a SHE LOVES ME poster in Jerry’s office to which he referred to receiving nine Tony nominations. FACT and it actually won one of those! The poster is from the 1993 revival production that was in fact nominated for Best Revival of a Musical, Best Leading Actor in a Musical, Best Leading Actress, Best Featured Actor, Best Featured Actress, Best Direction, Best Choreography, Best Scenic Design, and Best Costume Design. Boyd Gaines won for Best Leading Actor in a Musical.

3) Tom (Christian Borle) mentioned having a meeting with SpotCO. FACT – OK this is one of those pictures within a picture within a picture type of things. SpotCo is indeed a real company that represents SMASH. Here’s a little about SpotCo.

SpotCo’s life started in 1996, when its now-iconic designs for Rent and Chicago set a stylish new standard in Broadway advertising. Since then, SpotCo has steadily grown and diversified its client base. Today they represent a global portfolio of clients in a wide range of entertainment sectors: Broadway, live entertainment and tourism, cultural institutions, film studios and broadcast/cable TV networks.

Now I’m not sure how much fact there is in a writer of a show having a meeting with SpotCo. I think that’s the producer’s job.

4) Sean Hayes character tells Megan Hilty that her number is cut because she was funnier than he was. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say thats a big fat FACT!!! A friend of mine was just telling me a story about a star who was coming in to replace in a Broadway show and hopefully bump up the ticket sales to keep it open longer. They were having the put in rehearsal for this star and my friend did her bit like she had been doing which was always funny and got huge laughs. The Star stopped rehearsal and said. “Is she really going to do all that?” Before the performance that night the stage manager came to my friend and cut the bit. You can’t be funnier than the star. I can’t tell you who this was but if you see me on the street and stop me thinking I’m Sean Hayes’s brother I’ll tell who it was.

To read the next blog is this series, go here

 

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SMASH Fact or Fiction Season 2, Episode 5 "The Read-through"

%%wppa%% %%photo=20%% %%size=0.5%% %%align=left%% SMASH is renewed for a second season, Fact or Fiction?  That’s a fact, Jack.  Actors all over New York are thankful for another season of potential TV work and I’m delighted to host our favorite blogosphere TV gameshow.  Based on the shaky ratings this season, we’d better play while we can because as we all know, SMASH is much more fun when you play Fact or Fiction.  Did you miss last week?  Go here to do your catch up reading.   Everyone, get your buzzers out.  This season we have big prizes behind door number one so I hope you spent your week studying up on theater facts and fictions.

Please take a moment to read the game rules before activating your buzzers.

I am here to remind you that I am in total support of the fact that the show is, in fact, a TV show–a fictional drama–not a documentary. Right? Right. Good. Please initialize your understanding of this fact here: ______. We are not out to do anything except use the show as a launching point for fun conversation about the theater world. Based on the success of A Chorus Line and other backstage shows, we here at My Own Space assume there is a basic appreciation and curiosity of what happens behind the scenes on Broadway. Or else, one might rightly ask, what in the world are you doing reading this blog. Right? Right. If you can’t sing at least part of the song “Tomorrow”, you’re in the wrong place, tough guy, and maybe you should go here instead.

Truth be told, you don’t really even need to watch the show to play along, but you might be confused at points and you will not win the grand prize which is hidden behind door number five and is probably Sean Hayes’s meds.

My name is Sharon Wheatley, I’ve done some Broadway shows, and I will be your host. Be sure to read the comments after the blog because that’s where I will be debated and corrected by all my insider-y Broadway friends and it is half the fun.  Reminder that we keep things clean and informative here on My Own Space.  If you want to trash talk there are exactly 5,872,017 Broadway message boards where you can do that.

Cell phones off.  Game buzzers on.

Here we go. Lights up…cue theme music….

I will make a series of statements based on events in this weeks episode, and then give my opinion on whether the statements are “fact” or “fiction”. You play along. Get your buzzers ready.

1)  A read-through is just reading though the script.  Fact or Fiction?

Fact.  It’s really that simple.  And yes, it really can be done on any scale from an “official” run-through with the entire cast and a music director and a full cast, or as simple as a small group of people reading through a script in someone’s living room.  The whole purpose of a read through is to hear the script in its entirety and see how it works.  There is no pay for a read-through unless it is done as part of the rehearsal process (often a show will start rehearsals with a read-through on the first day) and can be done (as we saw in SMASH) with non-actors reading the roles for privacy.

2)  The Belasco Theater is rumored to be haunted.  Fact or fiction?

Fact!!  I love The Belasco and was thrilled they chose it…..despite the fact that The Belasco is a super crummy choice for a big, splashy musical.  Why, you ask?  It’s tiny, I reply.  With only 1016 seats I call foul to Jerry’s talk of re-couping his investment.  If he REALLY wants to re-coup, find a bigger theater.  But I digress.  Let’s get back to the ghost.

There are a lot of really fascinating things about The Belasco and I didn’t know a lot about it until a fun girls’ night with my pals (and Belasco occupants with James Joyce’s The Dead) Emily Skinner and Donna Lynne Champlin.  I listened entranced while they told stories about the theater.  Get a load of this: It is allegedly haunted by the ghost of David Belasco, whom The Belasco was built for, and as a part of the build he provided himself with a 10 room duplex  apartment IN the theater.  Which, to the best of my knowledge, still exists, as does his ghost, despite the fact that the cast of Oh Calcutta tried to banish it.  Turns out the ghost is a prude and just wasn’t into all that nudity, and he returned after that production left.

Cool, right?

3)  People rehearse in costume.  Fact or fiction?

I’m going to give this a fact-ish.  The truth is very often a room will be full of “suggestions” of costumes.  Yes, in a period show the women would wear skirts and **maybe** a corset (depending on the budget and the availability) but no rehearsal clothes are as pristine as the ones we saw on SMASH tonight.  The skirts would be mismatched and ill fitting and the corsets would be tied with shoe laces.  In CATS we had “rehearsal tails” and they were braided ropes that tied around our waist with ribbons.  They gave the suggestion, but didn’t look pretty.  Very normal is wearing your “show shoes” as soon as they are ready to break them in and to get used to that whole “walk in someone else’s shoes for a while” thing.

Two celebrity sightings, and both are attached to people already in the show:  Sean Hayes from Debra Messing’s Will and Grace played the dumbest actor ever (which way is stage right?) and Nicki Blonsky from Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s Hairspray as Jerry’s exuberant and loose lipped assistant. 

4)  Were FolliesGrey Gardens, and Ragtime flops?  Fact or fiction?

Fact.  If your definition of a flop is not recouping the original investment, then yes.  All three were flops.  Of course, producing a Broadway musical is an enormous risk with whatever show you are creating.  About 7 out of 10 Broadway musicals never make back their original investment (a percentage, by the way, that is relatively unchanged since the 1930’s).  And many shows that we look back on as being huge blockbusters were enormous risks at the time.  Cameron Mackintosh had to sell part of his business to raise money for a show that didn’t have a plot, didn’t have a book, didn’t have a movie star in the leading role and was essentially a dance concert performed by actors dressed up as cats.  Cats the musical became the longest running Broadway show in history at the time.  Why even some of the original investors in Oklahoma! asked for their original investment back when the out of town tryout in New Haven for the show was not well received.  It’s too bad for them; they missed out on a 2500% return on their investment.  Jerry’s view that a show that is artistic won’t make money and that a show that is a spectacle will isn’t a fiction, per se; it’s just paranoid.

Welcome Jacob!

5)  We started the episode with a splashy dance sequence.  Choreography for the stage is the same as choreography for a TV show.  Fact or fiction?

Fiction.  Here’s the fact: choreography for TV/Film is totally different for choreography for stage. One is not better than the other but the fact is with film the camera is the eye and chooses who to look at.   On stage the audience member gets to choose. On film you can focus on a snap of the fingers or roll of the shoulder or and eyebrow going up. On stage it is much more difficult to translate that detail in movement.

Check out Bob Fosse’s “Big Spender” number from Sweet Charity for an example. In terms of actual choreography, the director and director of photography and choreographer have “storyboarded” the number. Meaning knowing exactly what will be shot. There is possibly less choreography needed. For instance, if its a close up shot of the star’s face there is no need to choreograph those counts for the body because they won’t be seen.  In terms of rehearsal for the SMASH numbers – time is money so I bet they don’t have a lot of rehearsal unless its a huge number.  This makes it crucial  to hire good people who can see the choreography once and then do it perfectly.

For the next post in this series, go here

 

Posted in Smash | 6 Comments

SMASH Fact or Fiction Season 2, Episode 4 "The Song"

%%wppa%% %%photo=20%% %%size=0.5%% %%align=left%% SMASH is renewed for a second season, Fact or Fiction?  That’s a fact, Jack.  Actors all over New York are thankful for another season of potential TV work and I’m delighted to host our favorite blogosphere TV gameshow.  Based on the shaky ratings this season, we’d better play while we can because as we all know, SMASH is much more fun when you play Fact or Fiction.  Did you miss last week?  Go here to do your catch up reading.  I’ve added a new mid-week spin off blog called SMASH Ask and Answer where I answer reader questions, so go read that and then write in.  Everyone, get your buzzers out.  This season we have big prizes behind door number one so I hope you spent your hiatus studying up on theater facts and fictions.

Please take a moment to read the game rules before activating your buzzers.

I am here to remind you that I am in total support of the fact that the show is, in fact, a TV show–a fictional drama–not a documentary. Right? Right. Good. Please initialize your understanding of this fact here: ______. We are not out to do anything except use the show as a launching point for fun conversation about the theater world. Based on the success of A Chorus Line and other backstage shows, we here at My Own Space assume there is a basic appreciation and curiosity of what happens behind the scenes on Broadway. Or else, one might rightly ask, what in the world are you doing reading this blog. Right? Right. If you can’t sing at least part of the song “Tomorrow”, you’re in the wrong place, tough guy, and maybe you should go here instead.

Truth be told, you don’t really even need to watch the show to play along, but you might be confused at points and you will not win the grand prize which is hidden behind door number five and is probably the flying script of The Singing Bird .

My name is Sharon Wheatley, I’ve done some Broadway shows, and I will be your host. Be sure to read the comments after the blog because that’s where I will be debated and corrected by all my insider-y Broadway friends and it is half the fun.  Reminder that we keep things clean and informative here on My Own Space.  If you want to trash talk there are exactly 5,872,017 Broadway message boards where you can do that.

Cell phones off.  Game buzzers on.

Here we go. Lights up…cue theme music….

I will make a series of statements based on events in this weeks episode, and then give my opinion on whether the statements are “fact” or “fiction”. You play along. Get your buzzers ready.

Omg. I’m so excited.  Did anyone else hear it?  They actually mentioned agents this episode.  I think they are reading this blog (okay, so we all know this episode was already in the can** but a girl can dream about the ginormous impact of this blog).

**”In the can” in this reference is not referring to heading to the bathroom, but instead means the episode was already shot and ready for air by the time last week’s blog was posted.

1)  The episode was titled “The Song” because of that glorious song the show started with, “I Got Love”.  Fact or Fiction?

Fiction and this was a stupid question on my part, but I really just wanted an excuse to talk about this song.  I started to write about it and then decided to send you all to the master of song and singing, my friend Seth Rudetsky.  Do you know Seth?  You should.  Homework.  If you have Sirus/XM Satellite Radio, he is on the host of Seth’s Big Fat Broadway on the On Broadway channel.  Check it out.  For now, go here to learn more details about Melba Moore and her Tony award winning performance of “I’ve Got Love” in Seth’s famous and hilarious deconstruction video.  Worth it.  But then come right back here because we’ve got a lot more Fact and Fiction coming your way.

2)  A “Momager” really exists.  Fact or Fiction?

Fact, and I’ll tell you who had one, none other than MISS SAIGON’S Lea Salonga.  What’s a Momager?  It’s a manager who is a Mom and while I’ve never heard the phrase before I like it and I’m using it like it is a real thing.  It’s like the time I heard “hungerstudy” used to describe an ambitious understudy.  Genius.  I immediately made it part of my vernacular.

In this episode of SMASH we meet JHud’s onscreen mother/manager, and may I just point out that it is the legendary Sheryl Lee Ralph who created the role of Deena in DREAMGIRLS.  For those of you who need the dots connected, in the film, Deena is played by Beyonce and JHud plays Effie.  So nice to have to dream girls onstage together.  Fun, SMASH!

Back to the Momager idea, I can report that there was a lot of accuracy in this depiction and seemed to be ripped right from the Salonga play books.  I knew Lea’s mom was her manager (she was famous for sheltering Lea) and I had some judgements about that, but I’m happy to report that when I did LES MISERABLES with Lea (and her Mom by proxy) they were both wonderfully nice.  Don’t get me wrong, Lea’s Mom had her on close to lock down because she wanted to protect her pristine image, but they were both very friendly.  Lea is now married and has a baby so I’m guessing things have loosened up between her and her Mom.

3) Bravo films musical theater star’s concerts.  Fact or Fiction?

Totally fiction, but NBC owns BRAVO so it is a chance to toss in a plug for their sister station.  The closest they’d ever get is The Real Housewives Of Broadway.

While we’re talking about this, who WOULD air a concert like this?  PBS, baby.  After you finish DOWNTON ABBEY, check out the LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER series.  Last week they had a Kander and Ebb review with Chita and Joel Grey and next up is an evening with Kristin Chenoweth.

4) A couple of guys can write a song, it gets put into a concert and the result is the beginning of a career writing for the musical theater.  Fact or fiction?

To answer this question I turn to the other side of the couch and hand the computer to the quietly handsome music director and college professor, my husband, Rob Meffe.  Tell us Rob, is it fact or fiction?  Take it away.

 FACT
Just because something is unlikely, doesn’t mean that it can’t happen.  Or have even happened before.  There are many roads to success as a composer/lyricist team and one of them is by writing a hit song that is performed by a nationally known artist.  George Gershwin was not known as a composer until Al Jolson and his horrible blackface made “Swanee” a hit.  Perhaps Kander & Ebb would not have been green-lighted for Cabaret if it weren’t for the success of a young Barbra Streisand’s recording of “My Coloring Book.”  Things have changed a lot since then, and the biggest change is that songs written for the theater are no longer what you hear when you turn on the radio.  Consequently, the path for musical theater writers has changed as well.  Fortunately in the past few decades there has been a resurgence in support of the creation of new musicals.  Non-profit theater companies like Playwrights Horizons and Lincoln Center have fostered the careers of many new composers of this generation including Stephen Flaherty & Lynn Ahrens (Once on this Island), William Finn (Falsettos, A New Brain, Elegies), Adam Guettel (Floyd Collins, A Light In The Piazza), Jeanine Tesori (Violet), and even helped the well-established composer Stephen Sondheim develop two of his masterpieces, Into The Woods and Sunday in the Park With George.  Musical theater writing programs came into existence, such as the Lehman Engel BMI Workshop and the Graduate Musical Theater Writing program at NYU.  But there is no substitute for getting your songs out there to the public.  And places like Joe’s Pub in New York City (mentioned in this episode) is a way to get your music noticed.
At Pace University we are fortunate enough to have several musical theater composers as a part of our faculty, and they represent some of the ways that young writers are getting themselves noticed.  Our Music Theory professor, Ryan Scott Oliver developed an entire showcase of his material entitled RATED RSO, and produced several performances at Joe’s Pub using our freshmen students as the performers.  One of our vocal coaches, Shaina Taub won a residency to the Yaddo Colony which provides twenty artists a year a haven to create new material.  And even our esteemed artist-in-residence, Adam Guettel, just completed a series of performances at 54 Below that showcased many of his previously written material, but also a good chunk of new material to try out on audiences.
Sidebar: A couple of guys can write a song, it gets put into a nationally broadcast telecast of a concert and they were not aware of it until they saw it.
FICTION
I’m afraid in the interest of not slowing down the storyline and for the purpose to give Jeremy Jordan a chance to actually smile, the writers did some condensing.  The leap from a casually written bunch of pencilled notes on a slip of paper (like Derek was holding in the cafe) to a fully arranged (with backup vocals), orchestrated, rehearsed, staged, lit, and costumed closing number leaves out some of the most important people in our business that make everything happen behind the scenes.   I really don’t mind that SMASH does some fudging on this bit, except that it gives the impression that a performance like that could happen without this huge team of amazingly creative people.  Well, it can’t.
The other bit of fiction here is that intellectual property rights are the bread and butter of creative artists.  There are many laws that protect the performance of compositions, and Kyle and Jimmy would have at least had to agree to the terms of which that music was telecast.
Thank you, Professor (and Maestro) Meffe for the input and that brings a close to our latest installment of Fact or Fiction.  Thank you for reading!
I’ll do a ASK and ANSWER or a DEAR SHARON (and Rob) post as soon as I get a couple more questions, so ask away. I had a lot of repeat questions this week and want to wait for a few new ones.  Any questions about SMASH or theater?  post them in the comments or send an email to sharonswheatley@gmail.com.
To read the next post in this series, go here

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Smash | 7 Comments

SMASH Fact or Fiction Season 2, Episode 3 "The Dramaturg"

%%wppa%% %%photo=20%% %%size=0.5%% %%align=left%% SMASH is renewed for a second season, Fact or Fiction?  That’s a fact, Jack.  Actors all over New York are thankful for another season of potential TV work and I’m delighted to host our favorite blogosphere TV gameshow.  Based on the shaky ratings this season, we’d better play while we can because as we all know, SMASH is much more fun when you play Fact or Fiction.  Did you miss last week?  Go here to do your catch up reading.  I’ve added a new mid-week spin off blog called SMASH Ask and Answer where I answer reader questions, so go read that and then write in.  Everyone, get your buzzers out.  This season we have big prizes behind door number one so I hope you spent your hiatus studying up on theater facts and fictions.

Please take a moment to read the game rules before activating your buzzers.

I am here to remind you that I am in total support of the fact that the show is, in fact, a TV show–a fictional drama–not a documentary. Right? Right. Good. Please initialize your understanding of this fact here: ______. We are not out to do anything except use the show as a launching point for fun conversation about the theater world. Based on the success of A Chorus Line and other backstage shows, we here at My Own Space assume there is a basic appreciation and curiosity of what happens behind the scenes on Broadway. Or else, one might rightly ask, what in the world are you doing reading this blog. Right? Right. If you can’t sing at least part of the song “Tomorrow”, you’re in the wrong place, tough guy, and maybe you should go here instead.

Truth be told, you don’t really even need to watch the show to play along, but you might be confused at points and you will not win the grand prize which is hidden behind door number one and is probably a  case of Brooklyn beer.

My name is Sharon Wheatley, I’ve done some Broadway shows, and I will be your host. Be sure to read the comments after the blog because that’s where I will be debated and corrected by all my insider-y Broadway friends and it is half the fun.  Reminder that we keep things clean and informative here on My Own Space.  If you want to trash talk there are exactly 5,872,017 Broadway message boards where you can do that.

Cell phones off.  Game buzzers on.

Here we go. Lights up…cue theme music….

I will make a series of statements based on events in this weeks episode, and then give my opinion on whether the statements are “fact” or “fiction”. You play along. Get your buzzers ready.

1) Using a dramaturg is common practice.  Fact or fiction?

Fact.  A dramaturg is a real job (pronounce it with a hard “g”),  but I am going to call out SMASH on their use of the word dramaturg, and say instead they have brought in a “show doctor”.  Interestingly dramaturg is also the title of the episode, so they clearly choose the exact word they wanted, but let’s talk about the difference (and yes, we are splitting hairs a bit here, but there is a difference) between a show doctor and a dramaturg.

The truth is ask 5 people to define a dramaturg and you will get 5 different answers, but let’s face it, in the real world no one cares.  In this blog, we do, because we are educating the masses one gameshow at a time.

A dramaturg is more closely associated with plays and is used during the initial writing of the play and in rehearsals.  Most are well educated (I read an article that says they are often thought of as “book worms” and “critical thinkers”) and well researched.  Many resident theaters have dramaturgs on staff and they are invaluable to the playwright.  There is a Huffington Post article that explains it, and I like this description, “A dramaturg is an in-house critic that is friendly to the production.”

On Broadway, and especially in a big new musical like Bombshell, this kind of dramaturgy is a whole new animal and they are generally called “Show doctors” or “Script doctors”.  Very often they are famous and almost all of the time they are well-paid and uncredited.  For more of a backstory of show doctors (they call Jerry Zaks “Doc”) read this article from The New York Times in its entirety.  I pulled out this quote for you:

“Using the classic Broadway vernacular that is associated with script doctors, the “Catch Me” producers, Margo Lion and Hal Luftig, said in a statement: “Brian Yorkey is a friend of our production and was valuable to its developmental process.” Under Mr. Yorkey’s contract, his work on the show is uncredited, and no one involved in the production is allowed to acknowledge his specific contributions publicly.”

Does a show doctor means a show is in trouble?  Yes.  Can they save it?  Have you seen the grosses for Spiderman: Turn of the Dark?  (The answer is yes).  On the flip side, have you seen the grosses for Wonderland ?   What’s Wonderland you ask?  Exactly.  And that show had a surgical team.

Famous show doctors include George Abbott, Douglas Carter Beane, Jerry Zaks, Richard Maltby, Rupert Holmes and Jerome Robbins.  It might seem strange that someone else would be called in so late in the game to work creatively on a project, but as Eileen reminded us in this episode, she has a ton of money in this and she wants it right.

2)  In theater there are no agents and lawyers.  Everyone just talks directly to each other.  Fact or fiction? 

Fiction.  And with the exception of the lovely Brynn O’Malley who portrayed Derek’s agent last week, agents have been largely ignored in SMASH.  Why, you might wonder (as I do, as all my friends do) and I will tell you plain and simply that it is 100% because they need the drama of those conversations happening between the characters without a middle man (or woman).  But I would be a bad blogger if I did not point out at least some of the moments that an agent or lawyer would have saved the day.

1)  Let’s take last week’s episode.  Remember how they were all gathered in a larger (and by “large” I mean “expensive” studio so that Eileen could announce that Bombshell was coming to Broadway (in an as-of-yet-undetermined-theater).  Reality?  That announcement would have happened in Boston while they were all under contract there, or else the calls would have gone out to agents and each actors agents would have delivered the news.

2)  In this week’s episode we see Ivy ask a very friendly Bernie Telsey to audition for a different part in a show.  Can that happen…..yes……(although I can not imagine him being so friendly about it) but the most realistic thing would be for her to have her agent make that call.  Right, I know, that isn’t good TV, I’m just telling you the way it would really go down.

3)  All the meetings with the writers in Eileen’s office, the introduction of the show doctor, all of that.  It would all have to be run through agents and lawyers.  AGAIN, this is better TV, but really, at this level there is an entire step being skipped.  Julia wouldn’t just barge into a dinner and yank that guy out on the street (yes, because her agent would do it, but also because she would never humiliate herself and possibly damage the show with such a public outburst.  But would she, and should she be furious?  Uh, yes.)

3)  Actresses (and actors) have as much power as Jennifer Hudson does in SMASH to get directors selected and have creative say.  Fact or fiction.

Fact.  If you are a Broadway heavyweight like Audra or Kristin and you have people developing projects for you specifically, then yes.  You have this much power.  Would a newcomer like Karen?  No.

Thanks for playing!  To read the next post in this series, go here.

Don’t forget to take a look at my interesting advertisers.  We have John Wescott, a fabulous tapper and now realtor who specializes in Brooklyn and Manhattan real estate for the Corcoran Group.  Click on his ad to see his latest listings.  Also, StageCoach Musical Theater School, located in Manhattan and run by the lovely and talented Natalie Arneson.  Check out her ad for classes and times (it’s not too late to register).  Finally the very good looking guy in the picture in the sidebar, well, I don’t know who he is, but I can tell you that picture (along with my pictures) were taken by the wonderful photographer (and actor) Leon Le.  Need head shots?  Do you like to look at pretty people?  Click on his ad to look at his gallery.

P.S.  I have an opening for one advertiser in March.  If you are interested, please check out the advertiser page for rates and specific incentives.

 

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Smash Fact or Fiction Plays "Ask and Answer" (Round One)

Just when we were really rolling with our first SMASH Fact or Fiction of the new season, things came to a crashing halt due to a week hiatus.  NEVER FEAR!  Because you, dear readers, are so thirsty for knowledge, we’ve had some excellent questions sent in and therefore I am starting our first-ever SMASH Fact or Fiction Ask and Answer.

Wait.  What?  You didn’t read the first post of the season?  Then you must, go here immediately and then come back.  My name is Sharon and I am your host.  I am frequently bossy (but always fun).

The first series of questions come to us from Rick:

ASK:  Eileen has the St. James (because it’s BIG!) or does she?  Don’t some producers want smaller theaters because the rent will be less and the demand unknown? Or are all the “on” Broadway houses roughly the same size? (I know “off-Broadway” doesn’t really mean “off”, it means “smaller” and “off-off” means “a lot smaller”, right?)

ANSWER:  I had another producer bring this point up exactly, so good question.  Here’s what that producer said about the St. James.  “Contrary to popular belief, not everyone wants the St. James because its minimums are very high for both IATSE Local 1, and for AFM Local 802. It is an extremely expensive theater to run your show in, so your show really better have great ‘legs!'”

As you remember from the episode, the creative team wants the St. James because it has good “juju” due to the fact that so many long running shows have played there, most recently being (as they mentioned) The Producers. For extra credit and the AP course about The St. James,go here .

To answer the next part of the question I take you directly to the Broadway League site and the Actors Equity Handbook.

Broadway houses vary in number of seats.  With some exceptions (I’m looking at you, Vivian Beaumont) Broadway has to do with size (because size does matter) and geography (location, location, location).  They have more than 499 seats, and are located between 41st and 54th streets, from 6th to 8th Avenues.  Currently, there are about 40 Broadway theaters and they range in size from 597 seats (The Helen Hayes, which currently houses Rock of Ages) to 1933 seats (The Gershwin, which currently houses Wicked).  For the complete list, go here.

Off Broadway has less that 499 seats and more than 99.  Off Off Broadway has less than 99 seats (and the paycheck to match).

Rick, who clearly was a straight A student and sat in the front of the class, has another question:

Ask: And how long would a cast wait around between a Boston tryout and the Broadway opening before finding other work? They can’t all be on the payroll while they sit around, can they? So how long is the prep, rewrite, tech, etc. supposed to take upon entering a new theater?

Answer:  Did you catch that Karen is back at her waitressing job?  For real accuracy they should’ve shown all the actors coming home from the airport and immediately signing up for unemployment.  So the answer is no. They are not all on payroll.  Whether or not someone is slipped an incentive here and there I don’t know, but the general rule is no.  You are only paid when you are rehearsing or performing.  Make no mistake, those SMASH kids were all out at auditions (like Ivy) as soon as they got back.  No theater set for the incoming show?  They are all on the horn with their agents asap saying, “Nobody knows what is happening.  Get me another show!”

The prep to go into a theater depends totally on the state of the show.  Some shows need a lot of work, some don’t.  Case by case.

And because Rick is out to take over this blog someday, he has still one more question.

Ask: We come to NY once a year and see a half dozen shows in a week (exhausting, but fun.) But we also see lots of traveling shows, which usually open Thursday and run through Sunday. Can they really pack everything up, load it into I don’t know how many semis and buses, and get to the next town and set up to be ready to go again by the next Thursday? Does the cast even get to see the new setup before they go on?

Answer: First off, thank you for supporting live theater.  Seriously.  None of us could do what we do without you.  Only 6 shows in a week?????  you could probably squeeze in at least 8……you should see all of us TONY voters in TONY season.  I’ve done 9 in a week, and I agree, it is fun but exhausting.

Regarding traveling shows, most shows do the load out on Sunday night and load into the next city for a Tuesday night show!  Sometimes there are two sets and one travels to the next city to load in (this was true on the first national your of Phantom) but these days I’m guessing most shows fit in 12-15 trucks and they do it in 48 hours.  To answer the other part of the question, the cast generally familiarizes themselves with the set during sound check but you’d be surprised at how it looks exactly the same from city to city.

This question came in from several people.

Ask:  Is it all reasonable that Karen would be considered “a big deal” after just two weeks in a preview performance?

Answer:  Um, no, is my off the cuff answer, but as someone wisely pointed out, it does happen but not to this extreme.  Take, for example, Jeremy Jordan (a new cast member on SMASH, by the way).  When he was in Newsies at Papermill Playhouse (a prestigious regional theater in New Jersey) it became obvious very quickly that the show would be seriously lacking without him.  What happened is Papermill’s production closed and they lost Jeremy to Bonnie and Clyde.  But then, in a twist of fate ( a bad one if you are Frank Wildhorn or anyone else besides Jordan working on the show) Bonnie and Clyde closed quickly and Jordan became available to do Newsies.  Now the thing to know about this is that Jordan was already hot.  Unlike Karen he had two other Broadway shows under his belt prior to any of this (Rock of Ages and West Side Story).

Two of my favorite questions came from Iris:

Ask: Does anyone besides tourists ever really sit at these chairs in the middle of Times Square? Except maybe if you’re doing a show at the Marquis? 

Answer:  I’m going to say yes.  Actors sit out there, but generally we all try to avoid the center of Times Square if at all possible.  That said, sitting outside in midtown is at a premium and if it is a nice day and you have a minute or get a phone call it is a-ok to sit there, but I will give you a tip.  99% of all actors who choose to sit outside on a nice day hang out at Worldwide Plaza.

Ask:  Can you just interrupt an American Theater Wing Gala with an impromtu performance if you’re not even invited to be there in the first place?

Answer:  No.  There were 5,000 ridiculous things about that scene, but on a positive note, didn’t Megan Hilty just kill it with that song?  That girl has pipes.

Donna wondered:

Ask:  Is is true that the cast are like family and know everyone else’s business?

Answer:  Wait.  Isn’t every work place like that?  To answer for real, if you suddenly join a show expect the following things.

1) To be hugged by everyone.

2)  To have someone say I love you within the first 5 minutes.

3)  To exchange cell phone numbers and be friended on Facebook.

4)  Fast forward 2 years when you run into that person on the street and recognize the face but are grasping for their name.

And to answer the most asked question of all…..Could Karen really get Ivy fired?

MAYBE.  If we buy into the conceit of the show that she is the up and coming, soon to be TONY winning star-on-the-rise, yes, MAYBE.  But it would be tricky and they would have to buy her out of her contract and…I’m not totally sure about this….and  if anyone has a better answer to this, please write in.

And finally, we have some corrections and clarifications.

JPR writes: Margot Martindale played the fictitious head of the American Theatre Wing, Miriam Abramson, which was modeled after the late President of the Wing, Isabel Stevenson.

Myra writes about another guest appearance:  Annaleigh Ashford, who originated the role of Margot in “Legally Blonde” on Broadway (played the stationary selling former actress). She also appears in the “Smash” pilot in the audition montage, as the girl who showed up in full Marilyn getup.

And from TLT: And Brenda Braxton playing J Huds mom in her show! Love that Braxton : )

And from Michael Riedel’s **mother: FACT Michael Riedel is not a New York Post reporter. He is a gossip columnist, not a journalist or critic. Snark away at his supposed power to bring down shows, but if you do remember to praise him for his power to hold them up…I’d argue he does more for musical theatre than any other writer in nyc.

**not really, and p.s. I do praise him for his ability to bring a show up.  Exactly my point.  SMASH is smart to bring him on and get in his good graces.

 We’ll resume with another SMASH Fact or Fiction next week!  Thanks for playing!

 

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SMASH Fact or Fiction? Season Two (Episodes One and Two "On Broadway" and "The Fallout")

%%wppa%% %%photo=20%% %%size=0.5%% %%align=left%%SMASH is renewed for a second season, Fact or Fiction?  That’s a fact, Jack.  Actors all over New York are thankful for another season of potential TV work and I’m delighted to host our favorite blogosphere TV gameshow.  Everyone, get your buzzers out.  This season we have big prizes behind door number one so I hope you spent your hiatus studying up on theater facts and fictions.

Please take a moment to read the game rules before activating your buzzers.

I am here to remind you that I am in total support of the fact that the show is, in fact, a TV show–a fictional drama–not a documentary. Right? Right. Good. Please initialize your understanding of this fact here: ______. We are not out to do anything except use the show as a launching point for fun conversation about the theater world. Based on the success of A Chorus Line and other backstage shows, we here at My Own Space assume there is a basic appreciation and curiosity of what happens behind the scenes on Broadway. Or else, one might rightly ask, what in the world are you doing reading this blog. Right? Right. If you can’t sing at least part of the song “Tomorrow”, you’re in the wrong place, tough guy, and maybe you should go here instead.

Truth be told, you don’t really even need to watch the show to play along, but you might be confused at points and you will not win the grand prize which is hidden behind door number one and is probably a signed copy of J-Huds Weight Watchers book.

My name is Sharon Wheatley, I’ve done some Broadway shows, and I will be your host. Be sure to read the comments after the blog because that’s where I will be debated and corrected by all my insider-y Broadway friends and it is half the fun.  Reminder that we keep things clean and informative here on My Own Space.  If you want to trash talk there are exactly 5,872,017 Broadway message boards where you can do that.

We start the season with a double header and will cover the episodes “On Broadway” and “The Fallout” so grab a snack, but please open all cough drops and candy wrappers quietly in this live theater environment.  Cell phones off.  Game buzzers on.

Here we go. Lights up…cue theme music….

I will make a series of statements based on events in this weeks episode, and then give my opinion on whether the statements are “fact” or “fiction”. You play along. Get your buzzers ready.

1) Before the opening credits are done rolling we see three people get out of black town cars so we know important people on Broadway get the perk of a car service.  Fact or Fiction?

Fact.  Not always, not everyone, but yes, one of the big perks of Broadway is a car service, and yes, the cars always seem to be black although more frequent is a black Suburban.  So who got in a town car?

1)  Karen: who would have one because she plays the lead role.  But this is not always a done deal, so push your agent if you book a lead on Broadway.  And as a side bonus occasionally, very occasionally the understudy of the lead role gets to use the star’s car when the understudy goes on.

2)  Eileen: who would have one because she’s Anjelica Huston.  Oh, I mean the producer.

3)  Derek: who would have one because he’s a famous director (not all directors are going to get a car service).

Who’s seen hailing a low-brow yellow cab?  Ivy the Understudy.  Who, in truth, should be shlepping her bag down the steps to the subway because cabs are pricey for the unemployed.

Let’s talk a bit about a producer getting a show booked in a Broadway theater quickly.  To get this just right I had to make a call on the sly to a producer who shall remain nameless but had big opinions about the character of Eileen.

2)  It is possible to get a big theater like the St. James in a week.  Fact or fiction?

Fact.

Wait.  What?  I was totally yelling at the TV saying no way NO WAY could you book the St. James in a week.  Totally fiction.  But then, just because I would never want to mislead you fine readers, I used my phone a friend option and dialed directly to a big Broadway producer who agreed to talk as long as he’s Deep Throat.

DEEP THROAT:  Look, New York City is a real estate game, we all know that, and the theater owners make all the money.  They survive by playing a constant game of Who Can Make Me The Most Money?  If a show seems to have **legs (**fancy producer show speak for “it will run for a long time”) and ** capitalize (**earn back its initial investment) and will then run and make a lot of money, a show can absolutely find a theater in a week.  Okay, that said, it isn’t going to happen for a new producer.  You have to have earned your stripes and they have to trust you.  Truth:  Eileen is based on the real life Broadway producer Fran Weissler, and while she and Barry (Weissler) aren’t divorced, that is absolutely who Eileen is modeled after.  Frannie Weissler is part of a power couple.  If she wanted the St. James in a week, she’s get the St. James in a week.  And everyone wants the St. James because it’s big.

3)  When a show is coming to Broadway they have a big party to announce it with all the press there and they perform songs from the show and maybe Jennifer Hudson who is appearing in another show that is unrelated to the show would perform too, (and, and, and…I could go on but I won’t.) Fact or Fiction?

Fiction.  Every morsel of it.  They save that kind of event for late in the rehearsal process and then they do a press “Meet and Greet” where everyone is interviewed and they perform from the show and Jennifer Hudson is not there (even though this blog writer is thrilled to hear her singing on SMASH).  As Deep Throat said, “No producer would risk a press event like that because if the songs are bad you are dead in the water.”

The following text came in later from Deep Throat:  “The producer could set a ‘press performance.’ Dangerous, but could do it.

4)  Michael Riedel.  Fact or Fiction?

Fact.  And, by the way, making him a character on the show–where he plays himself–is a really great way to get some good press from a snarky New York Post reporter known for taking shows down.

5)  All Broadway capitalizations come from reputable and reliable investors.  Fact or Fiction?  

In a move commonly referred to as being “Sprecherized”, not all investments are sound.  (I am providing some info from Wikipedia if you do not know about the Rebecca Scandal I capitalize both because the scandal was as big as the show.  Actually bigger.  If you know about it, scroll on down to the ***.)

From the “you can’t make this shit up” category:

In 2012, Sprecher was involved in a scandal surrounding an attempt at mounting the musical Rebecca on Broadway. As the project’s lead producer, Sprecher was forced to delay the musical on September 8, 2012, two days before rehearsals were slated to begin, when he announced that a major investor had died. According to Sprecher, this investor had committed $4.5 million, more than a third of the show’s $12 million capitalization.[2]

The “deceased investor” was later identified as Paul Abrams, a South African businessman who had allegedly fallen ill after contracting malaria. Sprecher asserted that he had never met Abrams nor had a single conversation with him, despite Abram’s investment in the musical.[3] Some members of the Broadway community raised suspicion, including Robert E. Wankel, president of The Shubert Organization and a six-figure investor in Rebecca as well as the owner of its intended theater, the Broadhurst.[4]

On September 26, Sprecher announced to the cast that due to new financial commitments, rehearsals for the musical would now commence on October 1.[5]The day before these rehearsals were about to start, Sprecher announced that he had failed to raise enough funds for the musical. He claimed that a new investor had been lined up and ready to commit, but backed out following an anonymous email advising the individual to distance themselves from the project.[6]

Mark Hotton of West Islip, New York, was revealed as the middleman between Ben Sprecher and Paul Abrams on October 3. A 2011 civil fraud lawsuit against Hotton claimed he had a “long history of criminal misconduct and fraud”.[7] Sprecher’s lawyer Ronald Russo later announced that Paul Abrams did not exist, and asserted that Sprecher had been tricked by Hotton into believing the validity of Abrams.[8] The case is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by the FBI, though no charges have yet been made.

***************************************************************************************

Now let’s play a fun game of Who’s Who, which has been happening in my Facebook Newsfeed all night and at one point I was so wrong that I almost had to give my Equity card back.  Let me try to redeem myself here.

6) Famous people playing themselves:  

1)  Jordan Roth:  President and partial owner of Jujamcyn Theaters.  They own and operate five Broadway theaters, including the much mentioned St. James.

2)  Harvey Fierstein:  Actor, writer and all around theater royalty.  Best known for penning La Cage, Newsies, and Torch Song Trilogy and originating Edna Turnblad in Hairspray.  

3)  Michael Riedel:  Snarky and scoopy New York Post reporter.

6) Famous people playing other people: 

1)  Jennifer Hudson playing Veronica Moore who is really Audra McDonald. Right?  Broadway sweetheart with numerous TONY awards?  Could also be Sutton Foster or Angela Lansbury, but my money is on it being modeled after McDonald and her four TONYS.  Or is it five now?  I’ve lost count.  But hey, J Hud, welcome to SMASH and you sound great.

2)  Jeremy Jordan playing Jimmy the angry hipster composer from Greenpoint.  Jeremy is best known for originating the lead role in Newsies (cross reference with Harvey Fierstein) and being the object of  all 14-year-old girl’s affections, including my daughter who only left her Skype chats long enough to come in the room when he was on the screen.

3) Brynn O’Malley as Derek’s agent and table dancer.  Brynn O’Malley is a Broadway actress from numerous shows and is currently in Annie as Grace Farrell.  She happens to be one of my besties so she gets a special shout out.  She is also a regular contributor to this blog and if I can talk her into it, maybe we will do a little vlog interview later this week about her experience filming SMASH.  She tells a good story, so check back for that.

4)  Krysta Rodriguez as Ana, Karen’s floozy new roommate.  Broadway fans will best remember her as Wednesday in The Addams Family.

5) Margo Martindale as mystery woman named Miriam that had something to do with the American Theater Wing.  Maybe she was the President?  Margo Martindale has a long and varied resume, and I am ashamed to say that she was the actress I didn’t recognize (but I now idolize).

6) Shout outs:  Mary Testa, Jackie Hoffman and Cheyenne Jackson, all of who were in Xanadu on Broadway (and many other things, but I love that they were all in the same sentence and the same show).

7)  Hipster parties in Greenpoint, Brooklyn are regularly interrupted by a musical theater serenade.  Fact or fiction?

Fiction.  We all just wish musical theater was that cool.

8)  Everyone puts their address on their headshot and resume.  Fact or fiction?

Well that’s a fact if you want to get stalked, but let’s call it fiction if you want to have any chance of survival.  In reality, you only list your agency information and if you do not have an agent you put your cell phone and/or an email address.  This was much debated on my Facebook page because some people felt it was Krysta who hand wrote the address on Karen’s resume, but they never say that or show it, so I feel it is my duty to make sure you all heed the warning.  No addresses on resumes.  Okay?  Okay.

Starting next week I will answer one question from a reader, so please write in.  I will not do it this week because we are already running long.

If you want to play SMASH Fact or Fiction every week, be sure to “like” my Facebook page or follow me on twitter @sswheatley.

Recent Press:

February 6, 2013.  Thanks to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for writing about SMASH Fact or Fiction.

April 2012:  Thanks to New York Magazine for naming SMASH Fact or fiction to its Approval Matrix.

May 2012:  Thanks to  vulture.com for citing SMASH Fact or fiction in an interview with Megan Hilty.

Thanks for playing!

Interested in a follow up to this post?  Go to our first-ever Smash Fact or fiction spin off, Ask and Answer where I address reader questions.  Go here.

 

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