Happy Tuesday and welcome to the fourteenth episode of SMASH Fact or Fiction?  (One more to go!) 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.  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.  I also popped up on vulture.com.  For fun, check it out, it’s an interview with Megan Hilty:  http://www.vulture.com/2012/04/smashs-megan-hilty-on-prescription-drugs.html

But now, 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   episode nine , episode tenepisode eleven,  and episode 12, and episode 13.  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 fourteen and is probably Marc Shaiman.

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 talk guest appearances (because there were some fun ones this week.  I’ll get as many as I can, but I probably missed some, so write in with more).

1)  Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (the real life composer/lyricist team, responsible for writing all the new material in BOMBSHELL) made a guest appearance on the show tonight.  Fact or fiction?

Fact.  Marc was easy to find, he was playing the piano for Anjelica Huston’s beautiful rendition of “September Song”, but Scott was a little more “Where’s Waldo”.  Did you catch it?  He was having a drink at the bar where she sang.  Fun fact?  Marc and Scott are also a couple, and have been together since 1979 (according to Wikipedia….so someone correct me if I am wrong).  They famously kissed on network TV in 2005 (when man on man kissing was still taboo on TV) when they won the TONY for Hairspray.  This writer (and Midler fan)  must point out that Marc Shaiman wrote fabulous arrangements and played for Bette Midler for years.  One more fun fact, Anjelica Huston has a family connection to “September Song”.  Her grandfather Walter Huston debuted the song in 1938, singing it in the Broadway musical, Knickerbocker Holiday.  (And….goosebumps.  I love this crap.)

2) That is Marc Kudish playing Louis B. Mayer with a cigar  in a robe.  Fact or fiction?

Fact.  And why do we care?  Just so I can share the fun fact that Marc and Megan Hilty appeared together in 9 to 5 the musical on Broadway.  He, as the jerky boss Mr. Hart and she as Dolly Parton’s role,  Doralee–and then here they were again romping all over a desk.  Enjoyable.  And not to bring up Ann Harada AGAIN, but she was in 9 to 5 as well, so my guess is this was really fun shoot for all of them.

3)  When you go out of town all hell breaks loose.  Fat or fiction?

Fact.  Affairs, partying, drugs, you name it.  It’s a little like going to Vegas.  Okay, before I get letters, I will say that it’s not true for everyone (but boy is it easy).

4) If you appear in the opening scene of the show, it’s normal to be in your dressing room when the overture starts?  Fact or fiction?

Fiction.  Stage managers won’t start the show until they have accounted that everyone in the first scene is down from the dressing rooms.  If you tried to stay and make a call (as Karen did), you’d be paged about 52 times and a stage manager would be running up to your room and chewing you out for holding the show.  And while we’re on the subject of dressing rooms, I must tell you that dressing rooms (especially for the chorus, and especially in old theaters) are usually astoundingly far away from the stage and up 37 flights of stairs.  Because you have to hike from another altitude to get to the wings for your entrance, it’s a good idea to leave as soon as they call places.

5)  “47 Go” is the number of drinks Linda the stage manager (played by Ann Harada, ladies and gentlemen) is ordering after this preview is over.  Fact or fiction? 

Given the fact that no one clapped at the end of the show and her leading lady landed in the hospital, 47 drinks might be in order, but in this context “47 GO” is a light cue.

6)  It is possible to cook food in a coffee pot and actors shop for groceries and shove them in their minibar?  Fact or fiction?

Fact all the way.  Look in the back of the shots in the hotel rooms and you will see groceries piled around.  A+ for authenticity.  It gets expensive to eat out 3 meals a day (and unhealthy) so it is par for the course to unload your mini bar and shove your almond milk in there, and make oatmeal and soup in your coffee pot.

7)  A star can just quit the show.  Fact or fiction?

Depends.  Not really…I mean….if Daniel Radcliffe had pulled out of How to Succeed the producers would have sued him within an inch of his life.  BUT, if the star was terrible and they could tell the show was going to flop, they’d let her out.  Now….would they replace her with an understudy and not another name….doubtful…because EVERY investor would pull out (I’m getting ahead of myself here). But seriously….if they wouldn’t promote an understudy to play Joe DiMaggio….do we really think they’d promote someone from an understudy to the title role?  Watch next week and let’s see what happens…

8)  If the star was sick and unable to do the show, they would just cancel it.  Fact or fiction?

Fact.  In previews, especially after a bad first preview?  Absolutely.  Would the theater message boards light up like Christmas trees?  You bet.  Would the cast be put on notice not to tweet or post Facebook status updates or in any way talk publicly about what was going on?  Absolutely.  All totally, totally  true.

Check out this behind-the-scenes video of Kristin Chenoweth’s 19 city solo tour.  I’m working as a consultant on it, and am here to tell you the show is great!

(To read the next post in the SMASH series, go here)


 

 

 

 

 

 


 
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6 Responses to SMASH Fact or Fiction Episode 14 “Previews”

  1. TMR says:

    I love your blog and your "Smash: Fact or Fiction?" columns so much! My daughter (who's only 12) is a musical theater geek who dreams of Broadway, so we have so much fun reading your behind-the-scenes info!!! We also really enjoyed your book – it's inspiring to see all the ups and downs of how you made your own Broadway dreams come true.

    One tiny thing about this week's "Fact or Fiction" : I believe Marc Kudisch was playing Darryl Zanuck, not Louis G. Mayer. Yes?

  2. Beau says:

    I thought they won the Tony for Hairspray in 2003, no?

    Anyway, I love your blog Sharon. I always make a point to read it!

  3. DCS says:

    Love your posts….as another theatre insider here, it's nice to see you spell out what's fact and what's fiction….just one slight correction — Marc Kudish was play Darryl F Zanuck not Louis B Mayer….Zanuck was head of 20th Century-Fox where Marilyn was under contract

  4. Lachris says:

    Hi Sharon, thanks for letting me translate this wonderful series into Chinese (they're posted http://t.cn/zORwnk2 and http://t.cn/zO8md59). One of my readers asked for some examples of musicals that changed ending during previews. I could only think of Spider-Man (I know it had massive rewrites, not sure about the ending though) and the original run of Damn Yankees. Can you tell us more interesting ones?

  5. Sheila York says:

    I love your blog. I too am addicted to SMASH — as is my husband. And so happy to see the great review Megan got for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in the Times today. I have a FACT OR FICTION from Episode 14 to ask you: Fact or Fiction: Nobody — not writer, lyricist, producer or director — would have asked whether it was a good idea to end the show with Marilyn dying across a bed before the show got to previews? Think I know the answer. Still addicted though.