Author Topic: SMASH - the TV series  (Read 13024 times)

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Baz

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SMASH - the TV series
« on: Apr 12, 2012, 12:36 pm »
Okay, I'll admit it - I have been watching this. Part of me wants the series to succeed - if nothing else but to celebrate the industry - but part of me is watching it as if slowing down to look at the scene of a road accident. And I guess I should be pleased to hear that it's been renewed for another season (something no other behind-the-scenes of theatre series has done), even if it's been getting progressively more 'Soap Opera' as its been going along.

All that said -

Acknowledging the license of writing a fiction and freely admitting I have never been involved in the workshop / rehearsal process for Broadway (though yes, for London), it's still pretty clear some of the writers are pretty loose with the realities of the process, too. There's been a couple of real clangers  so far, but - and here I finally get to Stage Management - I'd be disappointed if AEA and the SMA didn't, even informally, express dismay over how the role of SM is portrayed in the series.

Rather than show the SM - if only in a minor role - as an active member of the artistic team, and an interlockutor between all parties in rehearsal and production, they've given the poor soul the job of announcing breaks during heated moments in rehearsal.

"Let's take 5 minutes."

No sign of the SM discussing matters with the Producer, the Writers, the Directors or Cast. The closest the SM has gotten to talking to 'Derek', the Director, was a variation on this line last week, where she said, from across the rehearsal hall -

"We've still got 2 minutes, Derek".

An immaculately tidy SM desk, no sign of members of the Company conferring with the SM after 'meltdowns' in rehearsal (which seems to happen with terrible regularity in this world), no sign of the entire company going out for lunch or drinks together....

Not entirely a useful impression of the work we do, all in all. Pity when SMASH is offering the public a fictional 'behind the scenes' account of something as big as a Broadway show.

Oh, and while we're at it - I'm trying to imagine what theatre Stage Door person would let someone uninvolved in the production past them, especially during a performance - and which ASM would then happily let that person watch the production from the wings, partially blocking their view, with nothing more than a gesture to be quiet?

Just sayin'...

 ;)
SM'ing since God was a child.

loebtmc

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #1 on: Apr 12, 2012, 12:58 pm »
The fact that they have Kat McPhee as the better choice vs Megan Hilty already tells you how much reality they are willing to face. I am watching too - but so much is wrong, from the assistant (who steals Messing's notebook and she doesn't notice/they don't turn the house upside down and get suspicious when he miraculously returns with it found in a totally illogical place?) to the whole workshop in this day and age being purely pre-Bway, not even an out-of-town tryout. And I can name you dozens of brilliant actors who did the workshop and weren't picked for the Bway run until the star ran out their contract, none of whom disintegrated by returning to chorus work. Health weeks are health weeks.

I agree, it's fun. And so glad they are letting all the Bway folk sing. And at least they HAVE an SM - no asst, no work other than timing, but an SM (who, yes, somehow is never in prodn meetings or gathers w the producer, director, writers...) - I might add, where is the design team? Costumes, sets, lights, sound - and OMG props!


Baz

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #2 on: Apr 12, 2012, 03:03 pm »
"...The fact that they have Kat McPhee as the better choice vs Megan Hilty already tells you how much reality they are willing to face...."

Ah, well - I don't think the writers (or even Steven Spielberg) would dare screw with the Great American Theatre Cliche: the kid from Iowa with no big city experience beats the seasoned theatre pro to get the starring role.

Blame Busby Berkeley.

 ;)
SM'ing since God was a child.

yomanda

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #3 on: Apr 12, 2012, 05:34 pm »
I personally am quite addicted to this show and enjoy watching it - in spite of it's soap opera qualities and lack of reality.  I love the original music (most of it) and am looking forward to getting the CD. 

And in this episode the SM was also seen taking down blocking!  :) 


planetmike

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #4 on: Apr 13, 2012, 12:37 am »
I'm hoping that at the end of the process, they (whoever "they" is, NBC?) will release Bombshell (originally titled "Marilyn: The Musical") to theaters to produce. They're doing a bunch of the work, they might as well let it make money into the future, right?

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BeccaTheSM

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #5 on: Apr 13, 2012, 07:16 am »
I'm hoping that at the end of the process, they (whoever "they" is, NBC?) will release Bombshell (originally titled "Marilyn: The Musical") to theaters to produce. They're doing a bunch of the work, they might as well let it make money into the future, right?

I've heard rumors that may be happening. I don't know how true they are, but I've heard it.
Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos. - Stephen Sondheim

missliz

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #6 on: Apr 13, 2012, 03:02 pm »
I've been watching on and off since it started, but I believe a few weeks ago the SM let Karen leave rehearsal early for the day, no reason given? REALLY?
I personally would like to bring a tortoise onto the stage, turn it into a racehorse, then into a hat, a song, a dragon and a fountain of water. One can dare anything in the theatre and it is the place where one dares the least. -Ionesco

bex

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #7 on: Apr 13, 2012, 03:38 pm »
I've been watching on and off since it started, but I believe a few weeks ago the SM let Karen leave rehearsal early for the day, no reason given? REALLY?

Yeah that happened... woof.

Also last week's episode where Ivy pouted through an entire performance because she WANTS TO BE A STAR and is TOO GOOD TO BE BACK IN THE CHORUS NOW? So ridiculous.  Norbert Leo Butz was fabulous in his cameo though.
You will have to sing for your supper & your mortgage, your dental coverage & your children's shoes, over & over again while people in desk jobs roll their eyes the minute you start to complain. So it's a good thing you like to sing.

BARussell

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #8 on: Apr 13, 2012, 04:46 pm »
LOVE the original music and songs!
LOVE the cameos by broadway performers!
LOVE the idea!
And I will probably watch it the entire run but...

I mean I could even deal with the soap opera elements if they weren't so ridiculous like the son who never seems to go to school.

Kat McPhee while very talented is not convincing enough to make me believe she would ever have the lead, she sort of makes me miss Lea Michele's expressiveness.

The SM is pathetic...like the new pages being "thrown in the air" to letting her leave rehearsal for a few...HOURS?! really?

I know I will watch it though :)
"We don't negotiate with weirdos!"

RuthNY

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #9 on: Apr 23, 2012, 10:51 pm »
Smoothie, anyone?

Post Merge: Apr 24, 2012, 11:02 am
SMASH Fact or Fiction?  This weeks blog, from Sharon Wheatley:

http://www.sharonwheatley.com/2012/04/24/smash-fact-or-fiction-episode-12-publicity/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=smash-fact-or-fiction-episode-12-publicity
« Last Edit: Apr 24, 2012, 11:02 am by RuthNY »
"Be fair with others, but then keep after them until they're fair with you."
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BARussell

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #10 on: Apr 27, 2012, 09:26 am »
I personally like the stage managers of "Heaven on Earth" who panicked, clearly let a drugged performer (in a minor role) on stage, If they somehow didn't know when they found her still did nothing when they saw she was being ridiculous on stage, and then let random people who they have never seen backstage during the show.
"We don't negotiate with weirdos!"

Ozdust

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #11 on: Apr 27, 2012, 03:52 pm »
The assistant is REALLY badly written and I can't believe Anjelica's character (and some of the others) are being so forgiving of him.
When he got fired that should have been the end of things

And the drunk Heaven on Earth thing was ridiculous (though I loved Norbert*swoon*)

There is so much in that show that makes me cringe, but I'm addicted

Baz

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #12 on: Apr 28, 2012, 11:38 am »
Cringeworthy? Yes, even the TV critics are catching on -

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2012/04/hate-watching-smash.html

The original music is fine (no surprise there) and its nice the SM is finally being given more interactive lines and situations (however unlikely) - but you know you may be in trouble when a rather fun Bollywood fantasy number essentially condenses all of the episodes storylines and characters thus far into a 3 minute extravaganza...
SM'ing since God was a child.

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loebtmc

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2012, 02:45 am »
This week went beyond credible. Where do I start - w a tech where actors get cut loose at 8 and have energy to party all nite? The director/choreo also designing the lights? and the SM STILL has no help? Yikes! Not counting, walking during tech, when even MRE isn't available? Holy cow.

Baz

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Re: SMASH - the TV series
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2012, 09:09 am »
Jeez. Soap'y, or what? Its a wonder the production is getting mounted at all, given the amount of time everyone of seniority seems to bedding each other - or just wishing to. Seems the only one not 'getting any' is the Stage Manager - so maybe a grain of truth found in the series after all...

 ;)

But as she appears to be the only SM on the project - and seems to be spending most of her 'free' time chasing down errant ensemble members - maybe she just hasn't the energy.

Meanwhile, even while making allowances for the writer's artistic license, it's still a worry to me that SMASH offers its viewers (even if they are just Broadway fans, folks in the biz, some gay men and those people who live in the Mythical Iowa where all talent waits its turn to come to New York) such an unrealistic - and unprofessional - view of the process.
Its fairly disappointing to me that a writing colleague could appear to be so clueless - and perhaps particularly galling to realize that they're making more per episode than most working theatre people make in a year. I mean, what's the current WGA rate for a 60 minute network show - $35,000?

Sigh.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 09:12 am by Baz »
SM'ing since God was a child.

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