Thursday, June 13, 2024

Steven Spielberg to Produce First Ever Broadway Musical, “Smash,” Based on the Failed Cult NBC TV Show


Steven Spielberg has produced dozens of movies and TV shows but just one Broadway play. “The Farnsworth Invention,” written by Aaron Sorkin, played 108 performances before it closed in March 2008. It was not a success.

But now Spielberg will produce his first musical. “Smash” is based on the failed but cult NBC TV show that starred Debra Messing, Angelica Huston, and a rotating cast of real Broadway performers as they attempted to open a musical called “Bombshell” on the Great White Way.

Bob Greenblatt, who was the head of NBC when “Smash” was on the air,” and Neil Meron, who produced the TV show, will be Spielberg’s co-producers. (Greenblatt now runs HBO.)

Excised from the production is playwright Theresa Rebeck, who created and executive produced “Smash” until she was fired.

According to a press release, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who wrote over two dozen songs for the television show will provide the score. The musical’s book will be co-written by two of Broadway’s most seasoned craftsmen, Tony winner Bob Martin (The Prom, The Drowsy Chaperone) and Tony-nominated Rick Elice (Jersey Boys, Peter and the Starcatcher). “Smash’s” Emmy-winning choreographer Joshua Bergasse will reprise his role for the stage musical.

Well, that’s a lot of star power for one new show.

“I am personally thrilled to be a part of this musical and its road to Broadway,” said Steven Spielberg whose original idea led to the NBC series. “’Smash’ is near and dear to my heart, and it seems fitting that a new musical inspired by what we did on the show would eventually come to the stage. I’m beyond thrilled to be working with this incredible creative team and my producing partners, who began the ‘Smash’ journey with me over ten years ago.”

Neil Meron added, “Speaking for myself and Bob Greenblatt, our partner when he was running NBC, we’re thrilled Steven wanted to embark on this musical with us. We’ve all felt that Shaiman and Wittman’s incredible score for ‘Smash’ belonged on Broadway. Collaborating with first-class bookwriters Rick Elice and Bob Martin, and the world’s best choreographer Josh Bergasse, will be the icing on the cake.”

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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