Jennifer Hudson

Smash Season 2 Brings Heavy Hitters Jennifer Hudson, Liza Minnelli, Sean Hayes, and Newsies’ Jeremy Jordan

Jennifer Hudson on Smash
Jennifer Hudson shows her sexy side in season 2 of Smash | NBC

One of the perks of writing about entertainment is sometimes getting to see movies and television programs before everyone else. So, I have now seen three episodes of season 2 of NBC’s Smash, the program that gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Broadway musicals.

As a New Yorker and former dancer and singer, I love Broadway musicals, so Smash is tailor-made for me. That said, I would hardly call the show flawless. The story lines remain soap opera-ish. Still, there’s much to look forward to in Smash’s sophomore season.

For one thing, Oscar-winner (and now extremely svelte) Jennifer Hudson joins her fellow American Idol reject, Katharine McPhee, and blows the roof off the place. They both seem to be getting sweet revenge on the people who didn’t vote for them to win on Idol.

Katherine McPhee and Jeremy Jordan in Smash
Jeremy Jordan is the new love interest for Katharine McPhee on season 2 of Smash | NBC

Besides Hudson, Broadway star Jeremy Jordan (Joyful Noise) joins the cast as McPhee’s new love interest. Jordan most recently starred as the lead in the successful Broadway show, Newsies. The songs he has been given on Smash certainly show off his voice, and he gets to play a complicated character who is a composing wunderkind with a chip on his shoulder.

Later in the season, we can expect appearances by Debra Messing‘s Will & Grace costar, Sean Hayes, and the iconic Liza Minnelli. One of my favorite character actresses, Margo Martindale, shows up for a small role (read my interview with her), and Harvey Fierstein (who, incidentally, wrote the book for Newsies) appears in a cameo.

I’m also hoping for more of Leslie Odom, Jr. as the season continues. He plays Christian Borle‘s boyfriend on the show. I’ve seen Leslie on stage, and he’s phenomenal. (Christian, a Tony-award winner, plays the second half of the songwriting team with Debra Messing’s character).

Megan Hilty in Smash
Megan Hilty knocks it out of the park in season 2 of Smash | NBC

Meanwhile, the intrigue continues between Angelica Huston‘s producer character and her conniving, estranged husband (played by Pulitzer-prize winning playwright Michael Cristofer); between Debra Messing and her estranged husband (played by Broadway’s Brian d’Arcy James; I recently saw him in an Off-Broadway production of the musical, Giant); and between Bombshell director Derek Wills (played by the handsome Jack Davenport from Pirates of the Caribbean) and all of his estranged lovers.

Jack Davenport in Smash
Jack Davenport as director Derek Wills on Smash | NBC

Highlights of the episodes I saw include (1) every time that Hudson sings, (2) a bravura performance by Megan Hilty (Ivy) at an American Theatre Wing event, (3) a drunken dream sequence to the song, Would I Lie to You?, with director Derek and a group of women he has wronged, and (4) all of the new music written by the brilliant Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (the team who brought us Hairspray) and the exciting composer, Joe Iconis.

The show continues to alternate between pop cover songs and new music. Broadway baby that I am, I usually prefer the new songs, but I’m sure the younger audience likes to occasionally hear songs they know.

With more shows than just the Marilyn Monroe musical entering the storyline, we can expect more variety in the original songs. It appears that the writers will give us the inside scoop about nearly everything that can go wrong with a Broadway musical. (And trust me, a lot can go wrong. Did you hear about the ill-fated Rebecca?)

Whatever happens on the show, it’s the musical performances that will keep me tuning in more than anything else.  If you enjoy that aspect of the show alone, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, I think one of the new songs by Shaiman and Wittman called “I Can’t Let Go” is destined to become a hit for Hudson.

The first two episodes will air back to back in a two-hour premiere on February 5, 2013. Tune in, and come back to comment. Let me know what you think.


25 responses to “Smash Season 2 Brings Heavy Hitters Jennifer Hudson, Liza Minnelli, Sean Hayes, and Newsies’ Jeremy Jordan”

  1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

    I can’t wait! I’m probably most excited about Jeremy Jordan, who blew me away with his vocals in Joyful Noise. I’m in love with his voice.

    1. melanievotaw Avatar

      @Jane Boursaw He sounds fantastic singing these songs! I loved him in Newsies, too.

      1. melanievotaw Avatar

        @Jane Boursaw I should say, too, that while I really liked Raza Jaffrey, I think it was a smart move to have him cheat. It gives both characters played by Katharine and Megan a chance to show more dimension.

  2. amycrea Avatar

    @reellifejane Yes, but does it include decent scriptwriters this season?

    1. reellifejane Avatar

      @amycrea @melanievotaw said the stories are still a little soapy. Hopefully the star power & songs make up for it. #smash

      1. melanievotaw Avatar

        @reellifejane @amycrea In the 3 episodes I watched, the writing looks much the same as last season, but the singing is to die for. #smash

        1. amycrea Avatar

          @melanievotaw @reellifejane I don’t know if the singing is enough to carry it, in the long run.

        2. melanievotaw Avatar

          @amycrea Time will tell!

  3. melanievotaw Avatar

    @authordhallman Thanks, David!

  4. BrianCentrone Avatar

    @melanievotaw I cannot wait! I know someone who was meant to do some advising on this season. Curious to see how that turned out.

    1. melanievotaw Avatar

      @BrianCentrone Jennifer Hudson and Jeremy Jordan are definitely bringing some great new blood to the show. #Smash

      1. BrianCentrone Avatar

        @melanievotaw for sure. I am really curious to see what they do this season.

  5. melanievotaw Avatar

    @leslieodomjr BTW, if you’d be willing to grant us an interview, we’d love it. We have a 20 mil reach with syndication partners.

    1. warrenleightTV Avatar

      @melanievotaw @leslieodomjr don’t do it,Leslie! 🙂

      1. melanievotaw Avatar

        @warrenleightTV @leslieodomjr Watch it, Warren! I was just getting ready to hit you up for an interview, too. 🙂

        1. warrenleightTV Avatar

          @melanievotaw I’ll be happy to, but @leslieodomjr is the man on the cusp of great things. I’m more a hardy perennial.

        2. melanievotaw Avatar

          @warrenleightTV Oh, I think you’re both in the center of great things! Just tried to send you a DM. Not sure it went through. @leslieodomjr

        3. leslieodomjr Avatar

          @warrenleightTV @melanievotaw Most ridiculous statement of 2012. 😉 Happy, healthy, and prosperous new year to you both!

        4. melanievotaw Avatar

          @leslieodomjr Thanks, Leslie. You, too, and Happy New Year to Warren as well. I’ll be in touch later in the week. @warrenleightTV

  6. UrbanMuseWriter Avatar

    @melanievotaw Ooo, can’t wait! Thanks for the preview.

  7. […] Matthew Broderick is stopping by “Smash.” The Broadway and movie star is set to play himself on an episode of the NBC series. This season is shaping up to be amazing. […]

  8. […] We chatted on the phone at length in what became one of the most fun and relaxed interviews I’ve ever had. We spoke, for example, about how we both got goosebumps when we saw “Spring Awakening” on Broadway — a show that starred Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff of TV’s “Glee” — and how we hope shows like “Glee” and “Smash” will help make stage musicals more popular. (Read my story about season two of “Smash.”) […]

  9. […] asked her about filming “Smash,” but she would only say that she sings on the show and she had a good time shooting […]

  10. […] new season of “Smash” debuted last night, but star Debra Messing is just as excited about another off-Broadway […]

  11. […] Odom, Jr.‘s career is on the rise. As Sam Strickland on “Smash,” he plays the boyfriend of “Bombshell” composer Tom, played by Christian Borle. […]

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