Happy Wednesday and welcome to the tenth episode of SMASH Fact or Fiction? Welcome to all you new readers, please take a moment to read the game rules before activating your buzzers. Thanks to New York Magazine for naming this blog as “highbrow” and “brilliant” in their approval matrix last week. http://nymag.com/arts/all/approvalmatrix/approval-matrix-2012-4-9/ I’m thrilled to achieve such a high honor with my pooping rhino video link still intact.
Let’s get back to America’s favorite TV trivia game show. If you’ve missed the previous posts, check out Why Smash Matters and our first nine game shows, for the pilot episode episode two episode three episode four, episode five, episode six, episode seven, episode eight and episode nine. If you are new to My Own Space the blog, my name is Sharon and I’ve been in pretty many Broadway shows. I am also friends with Theresa Rebeck, the creator, writer, and all around guru of the show–so 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 and should maybe try this 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 a Cuban cigar.
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) There were many famous people on the show tonight. Fact or fiction?
I will name the person and you match the part they played on SMASH and who they are in real life. Ready?
1) Harrison Chad
2) Manny Azenberg
3) Terrence Mann
4) Robyn Goodman
A) I played the role of the an investor and I was playing myself. I am best known as the producer of Avenue Q, In the Heights, American Idiot, West Side Story, Bengal Tiger of the Robin Williams was in this play Zoo, and many others. My spouse is a famous set designer.
B) I played a role in the musical Julia and Tom attended to celebrate their “anniversary”. I am a famous side kick, I am wildly popular in the preschool set…..I am the voice of the animated monkey “Boots” in Dora the Explorer. I was also in Les Miserables.
C) I played the role of an investor and I was playing myself. I have produced a bazillion plays and musicals on Broadway, but I might be best known for producing Neil Simon’s work. I am getting a lifetime achievement Tony award this year.
D) I played the role of the really rich guy who plays the guitar and sets fire to producer contracts. Among my extensive credits are these well known roles: I was the original Javert in Les Miserables, the original Beast in Beauty and the Beast, and the original RumTumTugger in Cats.
Correct answers are:
2) If you find a rich eccentric guy who can bank roll your whole musical, it is common place to set fire to a producer’s contract in a public place. Fact or fiction.
It would be very fun to say fact, but of course this is fiction. The real truth is that the building of a high profile and high cost musical means keeping all your money people happy, even if you don’t need them at that moment. There is always a good chance that you will need them in the future if a producer drops out (look at the ill fated Funny Girl for an example, or Spiderman’s ballooning costs last year as an example). Motto of the day? Never piss anyone off if you might need their money later. But hey–how much fun do you think Terrence Mann had playing the guy who told the producers–who were playing themselves (and get “good sportsmanship” awards) to suck it? Probably a lot.
3) Using Ivy as an example, it is possible to get “black balled” for bad behavior. Fact or fiction?
Disagree with me, but I am going to call this fiction, and clearly Ivy isn’t even really going to be black balled, or this would be her last episode on SMASH. Right? Right. Okay, I am going to cover a lot of bad behavior territory here, that will also include sexual harassment (which comes up in this episode for a minute and my guess is we haven’t heard the last of it). This could be a controversial answer, everybody buckle in. In my opinion it is very difficult to get “black balled” from the theater world. Unlike a lot of the corporate world, a lot of bad behavior is tolerated, laughed off, ignored and (sometimes) rewarded. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve heard that ends with someone in the corporate world saying, “If you did that in my office, you’d be fired on the spot.” Sometimes you can be fired from a show (as Ivy was), but it doesn’t mean you won’t ever get hired again–even in a small and gossipy community like the theater. Here’s an example. There was an actor who was discovered to be stealing from fellow cast mates. This person was not fired, but was sent to rehab, and then went on to another Broadway show where he/she was then arrested for the crimes at the previous theater. Was this person fired from the second show (the one where he/she was arrested)? No. This person had a job up until the show closed. Will this person be allowed to work in another show? Yup. Will this person’s cast mates lock up their belongings? I hope so. No, what I really hope is that the rehab went well. But you get my point. Name a corporation that would allow that. Here’s another one. There was a guy who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a minor in his dressing room. Trial, fines, the whole thing. Not long after, he was back in a show with minors. Look, maybe he really is fine. But the point is, would Ivy get black balled for what she did? Nope.
4) Some investors are only investing in the star and not the show. Fact or fiction?
Fact, 100%. Do you think Death of a Salesman would be on Broadway right now without Philip Seymour Hoffman? Or Evita without Ricky Martin? Or would How to Succeed have opened without the huge draw of Daniel Radcliffe (even that Jonas brother can’t get those grosses up to the wizard level). No way. Do producers want to meet the stars and make sure they are serious about doing it? Absolutely.
5) Composing teams really celebrate their anniversary. Fact or fiction?
I have no idea. This was a question that was asked and I don’t know the answer. Please write in if you know!
6) It is normal to have a sort of reading, sort of workshop hybrid to hear the script read with new cast members. Fact or fiction?
I will give this a “fact” if this were clearly a “reading”, but it’s not it’s a hybrid. maybe we will understand more of what is going on next week.
7) The composer can and will stand in at a rehearsal for a missing actor. Fact or fiction?
Only if it’s Christian Borle, a musical theater star in real life and we are 10 episodes in and we haven’t seen him strut his stuff yet. (He’s been in Spamalot, Legally Blonde and currently, Peter and the Starcatcher.)
This concludes our fact or fiction for this week. I have insider information that next week’s episode will be chock full of theater facts for our gameshow. Tune in then!
(To read the next post in the SMASH series, go here.)
( To read my new series “Let Me Tell You What I Liked About….” go here This week we talk about Evita.)