SMASH Fact or Fiction Season 2, Episode 6 “The Fringe”

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

 

About Sharon Wheatley

Mother of Charlotte and Beatrix. Sometimes an actress. Sometimes a writer. I'm glad you're here.
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8 Responses to SMASH Fact or Fiction Season 2, Episode 6 “The Fringe”

  1. marbenais says:

    Veanne Cox is also a big name in DC theatre; I squealed when I saw her last week.

  2. I can’t tell you how much I wish R@ndy Qu@id had been more like Sean Hayes’s character when we worked on LONE STAR LOVE.

  3. TLT says:

    Excellent job Jacob!

  4. Claudia says:

    I feel like there's no way Equity would allow a contract that bans an actor from taking other work, as long as it doesn't conflict, which Hit List did not. All actors know that any job can end like that, so they are always taking gigs and going on auditions. You said that yourself last season when the actors were running around to auditions and commercial shoots during the workshop. Also, all performers have some stage credits before making their big break, so it was laughable when Jerry said that Karen performing some songs in a basement somewhere for no pay meant they couldn't "introduce" her as the star of their new Broadway show. Heck, all of Smash's advertising said "introducing Katherine McPhee," even though she is known from Idol and even had a few lead movie roles.

    How about: Is there a Winter Fringe Festival in New York, and can you get a slot in two weeks' notice? How about NO! The New York Fringe Festival is in late summer, applications are due in February, and the festival staff spend weeks, if not months, assigning and scheduling the venues.

  5. Claudia says:

    Also: Jesse L. Martin guest starred as the artistic director of the Manhattan Theatre Workshop! Jesse, of course, is famous from RENT, which got its start at the New York Theatre Workshop. I thought that was a nice little in-reference.

  6. Barbara says:

    Great Job Jacob! Way to go.

  7. Rick Shulman says:

    Veanne Cox was also Flora in the off-Broadway revival of Flora, the Red Menace. I was Co. Mgr. for the She Loves Me revival, and it did indeed get nominated for 9 Tonys and won 1 for Boyd Gaines. And then we put up the closing notice the day after the Tony awards.

  8. Pingback: SMASH Fact or Fiction Season 2, Episode 7 “Musical Chairs” | My Own Space

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