Tag Archives: Smash

Megan Hilty Talks ‘Smash’ Season 2, Singing for the Obamas

            Will Season 2 of “Smash” bring back the magic of the NBC musical series’ early days?  “We’re over half way through shooting, and there are so many things happening this season, I think everyone is going to be pleasantly surprised,” says Megan Hilty.

Yes, she is back as the luckless Broadway star wannabe Ivy Lynn, who was last seen dumping a bottle of pills into her hand backstage while her rival (Katharine McPhee) basked in the spotlight in the Bombshell musical’s Marilyn Monroe role that once belonged to her.

In the season commencing in February “There’s a completely new musical turning up alongside Bombshell, so there’s that and all the drama that comes up along with that,” notes Hilty.  “And we have all new characters who represent completely different storylines.”  Stars who’ll be seen in Season 2 include Jennifer Hudson, Sean Hayes, Jesse L. Martin and Liza Minnelli.

And Ivy?  “Well, she’s on her own path. She’s definitely trying to get her life in order both personally and professionally, but she’s still Ivy Lynn at the core. She’s still trying to make some big changes,” Hilty says.

Of course, playing Ivy Lynn is more fun than being Ivy Lynn, with all her desperation and her struggles, her pill popping, her sleeping with the director to no avail, her superstar mother who goes out of her way to point out her inferiority and so on. “I love Ivy.  I’m the luckiest, getting to play her.  What I’d like to see happen for her — I

just want her to get something she can enjoy and not feel threatened about, even just for a minute,” she says with a laugh.  “You can take it away from her later.”

Meanwhile, the multi-talented beauty, who rose to her own Broadway fame as Glinda in Wicked and Doralee in 9 to 5: The Musical, has been having a blast doing holiday engagements — especially singing for the President and his family.  Hilty is among the stars in the “Christmas in Washington” benefit concert that will be aired on TNT Dec. 21.

“I remember last year watching it and thinking how beautiful a program it is.  I was so excited when they asked me to be part of it,” says Hilty.  She sings “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” on the special, hosted by Conan O’Brien, that also includes Diana Ross, Scotty McCreery, Demi Lovato and “Gangnam Style” South Korean singer Psy.

‘Smash’ Big Impact on Megan Hilty Already

“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.”

Kristin Chenoweth Bouncing from ‘GCB’ to Concert Tour and More

Kristin Chenoweth and Leslie Bibb ABC photo by Bill Matlock

There’s not much in the way of down time for Kristin Chenoweth.  The indefatiguable Tony and Emmy-winning performer will segue from ABC’s March 4-debuting “G.C.B.” back to her beloved stage.  “I’m going on tour in May and June.  I’ll be all over theUnited States and Europe,” she reports.  “It will be everything I do: dancing, singing, opera, musical theater, country, original — all of it.”

First, come Feb. 6, she’s being honored by New York’s Drama League with an all-star musical tribute including such names as Joel Grey, Donna Murphy, Cheyenne Jackson, Marlo Thomas and Elaine Paige.

Chenoweth has been busy beating the promotional drums for the wild new “G.C.B.” series, in which she plays the leader of a pack of Dallas socialites who are none too happy about the return of former high school mean girl Leslie Bibb into their midst.  Her lines include the notorious “Cleavage makes your cross hang straight.”  She was on hand for this month’s Television Critics Association press tour session in which the “G.C.B.” producers and cast repeatedly insisted that the show does not and will not do any Christian-bashing.

“What we’ve discovered about this show is, it’s an all-out comedy.  They can use that word ‘dramedy,’ but it’s just fun,” she said in a chat after the panel session was over.  Chenoweth hopes to continue in the vein of the funny ladies of whom she’s a fan:  “Madeline Kahn, Sally Field — those are the women who inspired me.”

 AND:  Wow, NBC’s “Smash” is getting a lot of help from people on other networks.  We mentioned yesterday that “Glee’s” Matthew Morrison is giving a big thumbs-up to the upcoming drama-with-music that takes place in the Broadway world.  Chenoweth is also cheering for that highly-touted brainchild of Steven Spielberg.  She loved the pilot, she says.  Plus, “I know practically all the people in it and the producers are like my best friends, and (director) Michael Mayer obviously was great to me in (ital.) You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (end ital.), which I won the Tony for,” she notes.  “So, I obviously want it to do well, because it’s my people.”

She adds, “Katharine McPhee is pretty special.  And Megan Hilty — I just met her twice, and I just loved her.  I thought she was perfect for it.”

Chenoweth is mentioned in the “Smash” opener.  Might she guest star sometime?  She gives one of her signature arched-brow looks, and purrs.  “You never know.”