Posts Tagged ‘Christian Borle’

Yes, I’m Going to Miss “Smash”

May 26, 2013

smash-season-2I’m just going to say it~ I love Smash. Despite all its imperfections, inconsistencies, infuriating story lines and self-involved characters, the show had so many magic moments. Along with its wonderful original music and a celebration of Broadway, the show also brought Megan Hilty into my home each week and hello, America should be thankful for that. Hilty was the standout on a show full of great actors including the wonderful Christian Borle, Debra Messing (I missed her crazy outfits and scarves in season 2), Jack Davenport and the sometimes great/sometimes a mess Angelica Huston. Hilty’s musical performances were always brilliant and she brought great conviction and believability to a character that was written all over the map at times. I can’t wait to see what she does next, and if she’s back to the real Broadway, I’m booking a ticket. (I saw her in Wicked years ago and she’s incredible).
But back to Smash… Yes, many people loved to hate-watch it, but I just loved to watch it. Despite featuring perhaps the most hateful character ever (conniving assistant Ellis) and changing gears constantly, I found the show intoxicating on many levels. Maybe I’m just that much of a musical theatre freak. I loved the story lines about the competing Bombshell/Hitlist musical storyline, Ivy’s redemption, Derek’s constant disintegration of his own life, Tom’s strange ever-revolving love life and I especially loved when they dumped Julia’s family life in season 2…. The show had so much potential that was never fully realized, but like I said, there were some magical moments. And yes, those moments were primarily some great musical numbers… So, as we say goodbye to my favorite guilty pleasure show Smash as it airs its season finale tonight (May 26th at 9pm) on NBC, let’s count down the best musical numbers from Smash.

The Top Ten Musical Moments from Smash~

1. “Let Me Be Your Star”- Karen (Katharine McPhee) & Ivy (Megan Hilty): this Emmy nominated number from the near-perfect Smash pilot featuring our dueling Marilyn wannabes heading into their big audition was the highlight of the entire series.

2. “I Can’t Let Go”- Ronnie (Jennifer Hudson): while many of the guest performers on the show go to shine like Bernadette Peters and Will Chase, none of them got a number as tremendous as Oscar and Grammy winner Hudson who threw down the gauntlet on this song from her one woman show.

3. “Second Hand White Baby Grand”- Ivy (Megan Hilty): this gorgeous ballad from Bombshell encapsulated the relationship between Marilyn and her mother and it was a stunner.

4. “Broadway Here I Come”- Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan): singing the best song from rival musical Hitlist, Jordan showed what a powerhouse performer he is. I just wish all his personal back story hadn’t turned his character into such a whiner. But this number was brilliant.

5. “Don’t Forget Me”- Ivy (Megan Hilty): singing the final number from Bombshell, Ivy proved why she was the perfect choice for Marilyn as her version blows Karen’s out of the water. Sooooo good!

6. “The Love I Meant to Say”- Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan): on this heartbreaking ballad, Jimmy sings about the loss of a loved one. (No spoilers here!) It was a tender tearjerker that was part of one of the best episodes of the series that dealt with that character’s passing. Seriously, I was bawling on this one.

7. “Heart Shaped Wreckage”- Karen (Katharine McPhee) & Jimmy (Jeremy Jordan): with the best duet from Hitlist, these lovebirds showed great chemistry and the potential of what that Hitlist show could’ve been if it ever had a real story.

8. “Never Give All the Heart”- Karen (Katharine McPhee): on this beautiful ballad, Karen laments Marilyn’s relationships with men and her past. It was one of McPhee’s best moments on the show as well.

9. “Let’s Be Bad”- Ivy (Megan Hilty): belting out a sexy and fun number from Bombshell, Hilty was perfection again.

10. “A Thousand and One Nights”- Karen (Katharine McPhee) & Dev (Raza Jeffrey): okay a lot of you may think I’m nuts for including this one, but I kinda love it. It was a ridiculously fun and possibly offensive dream sequence Bollywood number. Despite the implausibility of it, the song was super fun and the choreography was sick! It also made me wish Dev had a completely different character because Raza Jeffrey has some serious skills. (And PS~ who knew what a fantastic dancer McPhee is!)

And there you have it~ my ten favorite performances from Smash. It was actually hard to narrow it down and that’s a good problem to have. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to countdown any more musical moments from Smash as it disappears forever tonight. But enjoy the finale and thank you NBC for at least giving us two seasons of Smash. 


Another New “Smash” Season 2 Preview!

January 7, 2013

February 5th marks the highly anticipated second season premiere of the Golden Globe nominated musical dramedy Smash, and I can’t wait. The new season has jettisoned four unlikable characters (good riddens Ellis!) and added a ton of new faces (Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson, Emmy winner Sean Hayes, Newsies Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan, Law & Order and Rent vet Jesse L. Martin to name a few). It also has some new show runners and is attempting to correct the uneven yet immensely watchable and fun first season. I, for one, can’t wait. Now, a second preview of the second season has hit the web following NBC’s Smash panel at the TCA this morning. Check it out below and watch Smash Feb. 5th on NBC!

Smash season 2 preview

It’s an Extended Look at Season 2 of “Smash”

November 21, 2012

Last season, Smash was the show I anticipated most and while I loved a lot about the show, it also drove me nuts. Following a brilliant pilot, Smash became incredibly uneven. There were great highs (loving Megan Hilty, Debra Messing, Christian Borle and a surprisingly good Katharine McPhee) and some deep lows (Ellis was the arguably the most hateful character in TV history), but the show was always entertaining. The final few episodes of the season improved greatly and now we have our first look at this intoxicating show that chronicles the rise of a new Broadway musical and the people behind it. Take a look at the preview below and I think you’ll be as excited as I am that we are getting much improved Smash in its second season. Gone are four annoying and needless characters (Ellis, Raj and Messing’s boyfriend and husband), while there are some great new additions. Joining the cast full-time is Broadway hottie and Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan (Newsies) while Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls), Emmy winner Sean Hayes (Will & Grace), and Broadway vets Jesse L. Martin (Rent) and Daniel Sunjata (Take Me Out) will all do recurring arcs on the show. Things look juicier than ever and it also seems like the storytelling will be more streamlined and focused. I can’t wait! … Season 2 of Smash premieres in February, but you can get a taste right now below.

Smash Season 2 extended preview

“Once” Dominates the Tony Awards

June 11, 2012

Tonight, the best of Broadway was celebrated on the 66th Annual Tony Awards hosted by the always brilliant Neil Patrick Harris. He, and the show, were excellent with wonderful performances from all the nominated musicals (big ups to Newsies, Once, Ghost, Follies, Porgy & Bess and Ricky Martin with Evita for my favorite numbers) and clips from the nominated plays. The musical adaptation of the Oscar-winning film Once was the big winner with 7 trophies included Best Musical and Best Actor for Steve Kazee who had the best and most emotional speech of the night. Audra MacDonald also gave a very emotional and lovely speech as she won her 5th Tony for Porgy which also won best Revival of a Musical. Taking the Featured Actor in a Musical wins were Nice Work if You Can Get It stars Judy Kaye and Michael McGrath… On the play side, Clybourne Park took home best play while best revival went to Death of a Salesman and its lauded director Mike Nichols. Other big winners included the wonderful Judith Light for Featured Actress in a Play, Smash’s Christan Borle for Featured Actor in a Play, Nina Arianda for Lead Actress in a Play and the hilarious James Corden for Lead Actor in a Play. Take a look at all the winners below and head to the Tony website for more on this fantastic show and the wonderful theatre of Broadway.

2012 Tony Award Winners~

Best Musical
Nominees: Leap of Faith; Newsies; Nice Work if You can Get it; Once

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Nominees: Audra McDonald (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess); Cristin Milioti (Once); Kelli O’Hara (Nice Work If You Can Get It); Laura Osnes (Bonnie & Clyde)
WINNER: Audra McDonald (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Nominees: Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur); Tracie Bennett (End of the Rainbow); Stockard Channing (Other Desert Cities); Linda Lavin (The Lyons); Cynthia Nixon (Wit)
WINNER: Nina Arianda (Venus in Fur)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Nominees: James Corden (One Man, Two Guvnors); Philip Seymour Hoffman (Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman); James Earl Jones (Gore Vidal’s The Best Man); Frank Langella (Man and Boy); John Lithgow (The Columnist)
WINNER: James Corden (One Man, Two Guvnors)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Nominees: Danny Burstein (Follies); Jeremy Jordan (Newsies); Steve Kazee (Once); Norm Lewis (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess); Ron Raines (Follies)
WINNER: Steve Kazee (Once)

Best Revival of a Musical
Nominees: Evita; Follies; The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess; Jesus Christ Superstar
WINNER: The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess

Best Play
Nominees: Clybourne Park, Other Desert Cities, Peter and the Starcatcher; Venus in Fur

WINNER: Clybourne Park
Best Revival of a Play
Nominees: Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman; Gore Vidal’s The Best Man; Master Class; Wit
WINNER: Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman

Best Original Score
Nominees: Bonnie & Clyde (music by Frank Wildhorn and Lyrics by Don Black; Newsies (Music by Alan Menken and Lyrics by Jack Feldman); One Man, Two Guvnors (Music & Lyrics by Grant Olding); Peter and the Starcatcher (Music by Wayne Barker and Lyrics by Rick Elice)
WINNER: Newsies (Music by Alan Menken and Lyrics by Jack Feldman)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Nominees: Elizabeth A. Davis (Once); Jayne Houdyshell (Follies); Judy Kaye (Nice Work If You Can Get It); Jessie Mueller (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever); Da’Vine Joy Randolph (Ghost the Musical)
WINNER: Judy Kaye (Nice Work If You Can Get It)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Nominees: Michael Cumpsty (End of the Rainbow); Tom Edden (One Man, Two Guvnors); Andrew Garfield (Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman); Jeremy Shamos (Clybourne Park)
WINNER: Christian Borle (Peter and the Starcatcher)
Best Direction of a Play

Nominees: Nicholas Hytner (One Man, Two Guvnors); Pam MacKinnon (Clybourne Park); Mike Nichols (Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman); Roger Rees and Alex Timbers (Peter and the Starcatcher)
WINNER: Mike Nichols (Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman)

Best Direction of a Musical
Nominees: Jeff Calhoun (Newsies); Kathleen Marshall (Nice Work if You Can Get It); Diane Paulus (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess); John Tiffany (Once)
WINNER: John Tiffany (Once)

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Nominees: Linda Emond (Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman); Spencer Kayden (Don’t Dress for Dinner); Celia Keenan-Bolger (Peter and the Starcatcher); Judith Light (Other Desert Cities); Condola Rashad (Stick Fly)
WINNER: Judith Light (Other Desert Cities)

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Nominees: Phillip Boykin (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess); Michael Cerveris (Evita); David Alan Grier (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess); Michael McGrath (Nice Work If You Can Get It); Josh Young (Jesus Christ Superstar)
WINNER: Michael McGrath (Nice Work If You Can Get It)

Best Choreography
Nominees: Rob Ashford (Evita); Christopher Gattelli (Newsies); Steven Hoggett (Once); Kathleen Marshall (Nice Work If You Can Get It)
WINNER: Christopher Gattelli (Newsies)

Best Orchestration
Nominees: William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess); Bill Elliott (Nice Work If You Can Get It); Martin Lowe (Once); Danny Troob (Newsies)
WINNER: Martin Lowe (Once)

Best Book of a Musical
Nominees: Newies (Harvey Fierstein); Nice Work if You can Get it (Joe DiPietro); Once (Edna Walsh); Lysistrata Jones (Douglas Carter Beane)
WINNER: Once (Edna Walsh)

Best Costume Design of a Play
Nominees: William Ivey Long (Don’t Dress for Dinner); Paul Tazewell (A Streetcar Named Desire); Mark Thompson (One Man, Two Guvnors); Paloma Young (Peter and the Starcatcher)
WINNER: Paloma Young (Peter and the Starcatcher)

Best Scenic Design of a Play
Nominees: John Lee Beatty (Other Desert Cities); Daniel Ostlin (Clybourne Park); Mark Thompson (One Man, Two Guvnors); Donyale Werle (Peter and the Starcatcher)
WINNER: Donyale Werle (Peter and the Starcatcher)

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Nominees: Bob Crowley (Once); Rob Howell and Jon Driscoll (Ghost the Musical); Tobin Obst and Sven Ortel (Newsies); George Tsypin (Spider-Man Turn off the Dark)
WINNER: Bob Crowley (Once)

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Nominees: Gregg Barnes (Follies); ESosa (The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess); Eiko Ishioka (Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark); Martin Pakledinaz (Nice Work If You Can Get It)
WINNER: Gregg Barnes (Follies)

Best Sound Design of a Play
Nominees: Paul Arditti (One Man, Two Guvnors); Scott Lehrer (Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman), Gareth Owen (End of the Rainbow), Darron L. West (Peter and the Starcatcher)
WINNER: Darron L. West (Peter and the Starcatcher)

Best Sound Design of a Musical
Nominees: Acme Sound Partners (The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess); Clive Goodwin (Once), Kai Harada (Follies); Brian Ronan (Nice Work If You Can Get It)
WINNER: Clive Goodwin (Once)

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Nominees: Jeff Croiter (Peter and the Starcatcher); Peter Kaczorowski (The Road to Mecca); Brian MacDevitt (Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman); Kenneth Posner (Other Desert Cities)
WINNER: Jeff Croiter (Peter and the Starcatcher)

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Nominees: Christopher Akerlind (The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess); Natasha Katz (Follies); Natasha Katz (Once); Hugh Vastone (Ghost the Musical)
WINNER: Natasha Katz (Once)

Actor’s Equity Association Award
WINNER: Hugh Jackman
Isabelle Stevenson Award
WINNER: Bernadette Peters
Regional Theater Award
WINNER: Shakespeare Theatre, Washington, D.C.
Special Tony Award For Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
WINNER: Emanuel Azenberg

Bernadette Peters shows ’em how it’s done on “Smash”

March 19, 2012

My favorite new show of 2012 to no one’s surprise is the musical dramedy Smash. Despite some inconsistencies in quality week to week, it never ceases to entertain and I’m thrilled it’s on the air. Katharine McPhee has shown she has some nice acting chops to go along with her lovely voice that we first heard on American Idol, Emmy winner Debra Messing (Will & Grace) and Tony nominee Christian Borle (Legally Blonde) are a wonderful comic duo and Broadway vet Megan Hilty (Wicked) is killing it every week as vindictive insecure starlet Ivy…. This week things really get good as the workshop of their Marilyn musical finally goes up and we also get a visit from Ivy’s over-bearing Broadway diva mother played by seven-time nominee and two-time Tony winning Broadway diva Bernadette Peters (Song and Dance, Annie Get Your Gun). Of course, she comes right in and steals the show with her own musical number from Gypsy. Check out the preview below and watch Smash tonight on NBC.

Smash Preview~ Bernadette Peters singing “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”