(Photo compilation by Ryan Casey for Broadway.com)
It’s been seven years since the final episode of Smash aired on NBC, but that hasn’t stopped the popularity of the Broadway-obsessed show from growing. In 2015 there was Bombshell: In Concert, a benefit for The Actors Fund that showcased the biggest hits from the series. On May 20, a special broadcast of that concert was aired, reviving love for the show. Katharine McPhee, who starred as Karen Cartwright, stopped by Broadway.com’s #LiveatFive: Home Edition to reminisce about the concert and talk about what’s next for Smash.
“They resurrected all the costumes that we wore from the show,” McPhee told Paul Wontorek about the 2015 concert at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre. “I realized I was three sizes smaller because we were always dancing. That show was so intense. The energy at the Minskoff was palpable. I was nervous, but I think the excitement and support that we had in the audience definitely calmed my nerves a little bit. I still would get butterflies before the curtain would go up after doing Waitress like 300 times in a row, so you can only imagine the butterflies I had.”
Smash was McPhee’s first big TV hit after coming in second place on the fifth season of American Idol. Since then, she has solidified herself as a star of both the stage and screen having made her Broadway and West End debuts as Jenna in Waitress. “I feel like I’ve become part of the Broadway community,” she said. “It was always something that I envisioned for myself at some point—to be in a Broadway show. Smash was definitely that little step into the community, but it didn’t feel real until Waitress. I would love to do a Broadway show with [Smash co-star] Megan Hilty or Shoshana Bean one day. I think it would be fun to do a comedy with Megan because she’s just so hilarious.”
Since the show aired, fans have been clamoring for a stage adaptation of the fictional Bombshell musical featured on the series, and McPhee is all for it. “The music is world class and worthy of a Broadway show,” she said. “I know that’s a dream they’ve never given up on. It’s really about what’s the story? Is it about Smash or just focuses on Marilyn [Monroe]? I’d play Karen, I just don’t know that I would play Marilyn. I’d give that up to Megan [Hilty]. To me, she was my favorite Marilyn. I’m not being hard on myself, I really think she would be an amazing Marilyn on stage.”
Just hours after the broadcast of Bombshell: In Concert ended, it was announced that Smash: A New Musical is coming to Broadway, and we got to tell McPhee the news. “I’ll be there with my 16 bars, I’m ready to audition,” she said. “The fans are going to go wild—this makes me really happy. I’m thinking about the whole cast’s reaction to this: they’re going to be so excited. It’s going to be the best opening night ever!”
Watch McPhee talk about the potential of a Smash TV special and more in the full episode below!