Joey O’Hern Staff Writer
The season premiere of “SMASH” proved that if it’s broken you might just be able to fix it. Or at least that’s what the new creative team behind the actual show is hoping. I’ll tell you from the get go that usually I wouldn’t be this detailed but since it’s the season opener I figured I should be so I can be sure that everyone knows where we are.
The season opener takes us to the closing night performance in Boston, where “Bombshell” is having it’s out of town tryout before heading to Broadway. Karen, and the ensemble debut a new original song “Cut, Print, Moving On”. The cast makes their way back to the Big Apple and reassemble in the same rehearsal studio from the last season. It’s there that Eileen lets the cast know she is working on the booking of a Broadway theater and that she hopes everyone’s contracts will be picked up. Eileen informs Karen that she’s planning a party for the press to preview the show and ask her to perform. In a creative team meeting we learn that Julia hasn’t read the reviews, its there after we learn that the reviews for Julia’s script, weren’t that great.
Derek takes Karen to meet the fictional 2 time TONY Award winner Veronic Moore who is played by Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson. J-Hud kills her debut song on the show entitled “Mama Makes Three”. But really has she ever performed a song poorly? When Karen meets Veronica after the show the most important advice she gives is simply, “Someone is always waiting to take you down honey. But if the work is good, they won’t be able to”.
Eileen heads to a dinner meeting with Jordan Roth (who is real life part owner of the “JuJamycn Theatres) and as always her obnoxious husband makes an appearances attempting to intimate Eileen and throw a wrench in the path to Broadway. Little does he know, she’s already booked a theater, one of Broadways greatest, the St. James. During a rehearsal for the press dinner party, Ivy ask Julia for advice on moving past the season one incident with Karen. At the start of the party the whispers begin to swirl as it hits the press that Rebecca Duval released a statement saying she left the show in Boston because Derek supposedly made a move. After the Rebecca rumor swirls Eileen gets a call from Jordan Roth letting her know he isn’t coming, giving the impression that the booking of the theater is in jeopardy. In an effort to distract the press and crowd Karen and Veronica perform the classic, “On Broadway”. Whoever thought of having Jennifer Hudson sing this song needs a raise. It was pure genius! Shortly after, Ivy learns that she has been let go from the show at Karen’s request. Tom lets Julia know that he saw Frank with another woman, when Julia confronts Frank at the party it turns into an awkward blow up that draws attention from the crowd. Ivy finally decides to give Karen a genuine apology letting her know that her hook up with Dev was to get back at her, but why? Jealousy. But hey that’s showbiz kids. Someone tipped off the government to how Eileen was financing “Bombshell”, the show now under investigation is called off until further notice.
Derek tells Karen to keep him in mind in case anything comes along for her, he might need a job and shortly after that conversation, he does. While at a bar Karen meets Jimmy and Kyle, an up and coming composer and lyricist team. Come to find out the two of them have some great material. Material that Karen thinks could be the next big thing and quickly lets Derek in on her discovery. With “Bombshell” on the back burner is this a new possible project a hit in the making?
Karen attempts to talk to Jimmy about possibly hearing more music that he’s written which doesn’t end well. Kyle explains that Jimmy is very protective over his music. Which sidebar, the vibe I’m getting is that he is almost afraid in a way of what people will say when they hear it. Karen tells them that she just wanted to play it for Derek and see what possibilities there are. Eileen is still working on getting Bombshell back on its feet with clearing up the financial problems and securing legitimate investors.
Derek has a meeting about possibly directing a revival of the Wiz where he learns he has been let go do the fact that his sexual harassment story that was recently in the press starting to grow to a media firestorm. Julia starts to have an emotional breakdown over the demise of her marriage. Tom tells her they have to go to an event, which she refuses to attend. Being a good friend he agrees to come up with an excuse for her not attending.
Tom bumps into Harvey Fierstein (who is playing himself) who mentions working with Tom since the rumor is he is no longer working with Julia. To prove him wrong Tom tells Harvey that he can expect the 2 of them to be at the American Theatre Wing event together. Tom comes up with a lie to get Julia to go, telling her they are presenting.
At a party at Kyle and Jimmys house, Karen performs a song that Jimmy himself wrote. Jimmy, unaware that Kyle gave Karen the sheet music he storms out in hurt and anger. Mad that Kyle went behind his back and gave out his work. Which let me add, the song was incredible. Actually sounded like something that could be on the radio today. Karen tries to explain that she just wanted to help Jimmy and Kyle.
Before the creative team (who got kicked out of the party for) leaves Eileen insist on a performance so everyone in the room will know what they are missing. Karen doesn’t answer her phone leaving Ivy to perform a song from Bombshell. Ivy performs “They Keep Moving The Line”, which let me just say Megan Hilty killed that song, she truly is a powerhouse singer.
After Kyle and Jimmy have a “heart to heart” (as we call it in the south), Jimmy goes to Karens new apartment and gives her all the music he’s written so far. Karen and Derek start to work on a new musical with Jimmy’s music and from there our season premiere concludes. So ladies and gentlemen, we have a new musical to rival “Bombshell”. Are Karen and Derek going to jump ship? Will Marilyn ever make her way to Broadway?! We shall see…stay tuned for the rest of “Smash” season 2!