It what will be a novelty story for most people and a life-changing announcement for theater folk, that fake musical from Smash is going to become a very real Broadway musical. Not the lame Rent knockoff—the Marilyn Monroe bio-musical Bombshell, which features a classic Broadway score from celebrated composers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman. There’s no official timeline for Bombshell to hit the Great White Way, but the show’s powerhouse producing team includes NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt plus Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who produced Smash as well as NBC’s The Sound Of Music Live! and Peter Pan Live!
While it may seem a bit random that a fake musical from a failed TV show is getting adapted for the stage two years after said show ended, this is actually the culmination of a slow but steady journey from screen to stage. First Smash released a “cast album” that collected all the Bombshell songs in one place. Then a Kickstarter campaign helped fund a one-night only concert version of Bombshell featuring the TV cast. (Apparently fans took the show’s “Don’t Forget Me” finale quite seriously.)
It’s likely Bombshell will need quite a bit of work before it hits Broadway. Although it’s got a strong score, there are no book scenes to string those songs together (thanks Debra Messing). Plus, as it stands the show is so Monroe-heavy it would be difficult to expect an actress to actually perform the role eight times a week. Since Shaiman and Wittman are both onboard, they’ll likely help reshape the show for the demands of live performance.
No casting has been announced yet and so far no one from the TV show has been linked to the project, but it’s possible that either Megan Hilty or Katharine McPhee will get to reprise the role of Monroe onstage. Hilty is the more likely option, given that she’s got a long Broadway resume and, you know, actually looks like Marilyn Monroe. (And she can give a performance like this.) The Broadway production might also want to distance itself from the TV show by casting a new leading lady altogether.
If the creation of the real-life Bombshell follows the trajectory of the fictional one, fans can expect a lot of cast and creative shake-ups before the show’s choreographer and leading lady wind up winning Tonys and having a baby together. Also, at some point in the development process Uma Thurman will be poisoned by a conniving assistant.