Well, ladies and gentlemen, Smash is back in all it’s we-love-to-hate-it-or-is-it-hate-to-love-it? glory. The details of the show have been discussed in great detail by many people, including me (seriously guys, I tweeted 49 times during the premiere. I think my brain is starting to process everything in 140 characters). But there’s one detail of the show that I don’t feel has been adequately discussed.
You see, the whole idea of Smash is that it’s a show about the making of the show. The driving plot through the troubled first season was who would be cast as Marilyn Monroe in the musical about Marilyn Monroe – would they go for Ivy, the seasoned Broadway actress with the brass pipes who actually looks like Marilyn Monroe, or Karen, the pop-singing waif with the dead eyes who performs every number looking like she’s in one of those dreams where you’re suddenly in the middle of a number and you don’t know what you’re doing but you have to pretend really fast because it’s all happening and everyone’s looking at you? Well, folks, we needn’t have worried. Because according to the poster for ‘Bombshell’, Smash’s show-within-a-show, they ended up casting…
Maybe I missed a key bit of subtext in the recent premiere. There’s a scene in which Tom runs into Harvey Fierstein, who seems oddly awkward and a little bit cagey. Could it be that what he knows that Tom doesn’t is that HE’s going to be playing Marilyn? Because according to this weird silhouetted clip art, Marilyn Monroe was actually a stocky pointy-boobed man-lookin’ lady. Maybe they meant bombshell as in ‘shocking secret’ and not as in ‘one of the most beautiful women in the history of the world’, and the shocking secret is that in their show one of the greatest drag icons of all time is actually a drag queen? This could be an interesting plot development – god knows it would be better than sneaky evil Ellis. And I’d rather see Harvey Fierstein play Marilyn than boring Karen, to be honest.
I mean, if you’re going to be making a musical about an icon like Marilyn Monroe, you would think you would want said icon to be recognizable. Or at least have a recognizable neck instead of a head connection that is roughly as thick as her waist. But I get it. Pictures of Marilyn Monroe are definitely hard to find, especially ones that are instantly identifiable. That’s just what you get making a musical about a historical figure so obscure, producer Elaine.