When Smash went off the air back in 2013, it didn’t just ding the dreams of the quixotic members of the Debra Messing’s Still Got It! Club. It also took its two fake musicals, Hit List and the Marilyn Monroe-themed Bombshell, down the tubes. And while it was less than a year before the Rent-ish Hit List managed to make a real-world debut, the more ambitious Bombshell was left to languish as nothing but memories (and also a soundtrack CD full of songs by Hairspray writers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.)
But fret no longer, Bombshell Brigade: thanks to a successful Kickstarter, the fake musical whose fictitious Broadway opening took up so much of the show’s second season finally got the real Broadway opening people clearly thought it deserved. (We’ll give you a moment to parse the shifts between the real and the fictitious here that are the magic of theater).
On Monday night, the cast and crew of Smash reunited for a one-night-only presentation of Bombshell on the stage of Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre, with ticket sales going toward the performing artists charity The Actors Fund. Almost all of the show’s talent was on hand, with Messing and co-star Christian Borle delivering introductions and banter, and dueling Marilyns Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty trading off on the part.
The evening seems to have been carried off largely free of the backstage drama that dogged the show, which often appeared to be paralleling the onscreen battles it chronicled. Shout-outs were delivered to everyone involved, including showrunner Theresa Rebeck and producer Steven Spielberg, and the night generally seems to have captured the best of what theater can offer—a singular evening of acrimony-free fun, delivered with passion and technical precision. It’s the kind of magical experience that would probably make for a really good TV show—but ah, what folly, to dream of such a world.