“Smash” hasn’t even hit the airwaves yet, but the highly-touted NBC show that debuts tonight (2/6) has already boosted Megan Hilty’s celebrity status to the point she’s finding herself getting stopped frequently by viewers who recognize her. “It’s been happening especially the last couple of weeks,” says the Broadway performer of Wicked fame, whose character on the new series is vying with Katharine McPhee’s to star in a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe.
Her favorite example? She got into a taxi with a “Smash” ad on top of it a few days ago, she tells us, “and the driver said, ‘Hey, I know you. You’re the girl on my cab!’ He had me write down the premiere date, even though I think it was on the sign,” she says with a laugh.
Despite their roles as rivals, Hilty says she and McPhee have become pals through their months of intense “Smash” schedules. According to her, they both like to make people laugh around the set, goof around and occasionally talk to each other in silly voices. They’re also the two who’ve been working the most constantly. “When we’re not shooting, we’re being fitted for costumes or learning choreography,” she explains. Hilty stresses that the long hours are fine with her. “The fact that I really love what I’m doing makes all the difference,” she points out.
The hardest part, for her, “has been not talking about my character’s storyline. I know how that sounds, but it’s true. You know, Ivy will do just about anything to get this part, and her journey has some very startling twists. All the characters’ do.” Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll? “All of it, everything that happens behind the scenes in the world of Broadway, happens here,” she says. “If there’s one thing I would like to say, though, it’s that we also show the side of Broadway that is like a family among these large-sized personalities, these creative people who come here. We’ve been asked a lot about cat fights and the casting couch, and that’s all part of it, but so are these relationships.”