'Smash' Recap: The High Cost of Art - Rolling Stone
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‘Smash’ Recap: The High Cost of Art

How to be a Broadway wallflower


Megan Hilty as Ivy Lynn rehearses with the cast on NBC's 'Smash.'

Patrick Harbron/NBC

“The road to Broadway is exceedingly long,” notes smarmy director Derek in this week’s episode of Smash. Truer words were never spoken, as it’s only the first day of workshops for Marilyn: The Musical – and the word of the week is, awk-ward!

When Karen arrives at rehearsal to take her place in the ensemble, her peers snicker at how she smacks of the Midwest. Meanwhile, when an overeager Ellis approaches Julia, she stares straight ahead and sits as far away from him as possible. She probably doesn’t want to catch his creepiness cooties.

As if there isn’t enough drama in the air, Derek arrives in a snit as Julia and her ex-lover Michael share an awkward moment, when she shakes his hand nervously and repeatedly refers to how “great” he is. Great at what, exactly, hmm? 

Ivy is last to arrive, and she gets a round of applause for landing the role as Ms. Monroe. But her high is short-lived when she realizes Karen has been cast in the chorus. Why didn’t Derek tell her? After all, she is sleeping with him . . . which you’d think would make him a stand-up guy.

Things quickly turn nasty when Ivy stops mid-song to take a swipe at Karen, whose enthusiasm is too much for her to handle. Sensing that Ivy’s annoyed, Derek approaches her during a break to invite her to a party he’s throwing for wunderkind actor Lyle West (played by Nick Jonas), whom he claims to have discovered. Overhearing the invitation, the chorus line starts twittering about how the two are “doing the nasty,” which is news to Karen.

Skipping out on the festivities is show producer Eileen, who’s upset that her assets have been frozen while she’s divorcing her husband – especially when “all” she needs is $200,000 to get the ball rolling on the show. Chump change, right?

While eating lunch, Ivy questions songwriter Tom about why no one told her Karen was in the ensemble. When she casually mentions that Derek discovered Lyle, Tom runs to BFF Julia in a fit over Derek laying claim to Lyle’s fame.

Upon returning to rehearsal, Tom tries to appease Ivy by moving Karen as far away from the rising starlet as possible during the song-and-dance routine they’re practicing. But it’s still not enough, and Karen is eventually taken out of the number altogether. Round one winner: Ivy.

Back in Brokeville, Eileen decides to sell an original Degas sketch in order to raise some money for the Marilyn fund. But she learns she can’t, because the original bill of sale is in her soon-to-be ex-hubby’s name. Bet she wishes she had saved one of those drinks she threw in his face for a moment like this.

As the rehearsal rolls on, Julia and Michael make goo-goo eyes at each other. But as soon as he tries to talk to her, she takes off.

While practicing yet another tune, Karen gets kicked out of the chorus line once again when Ivy gets distracted. Fed up, she storms out of the room to cool off. When one of the chorus girls approaches her, she lashes out about everyone snubbing her, admitting she had first crack at sleeping with Derek to nab the role. The gloves are off!

Next thing you know, Karen and the peanut gallery are fast friends, going on a shopping spree for new clothes so Karen can “blend in” and appease Ivy. As day rolls into night, the gang rolls over to Karen’s apartment to teach her how to turn into a Broadway wallflower.

Hoping to pull Eileen out of her funk, Julia drags the perfectly coifed pauper to the party Derek’s throwing for Lyle. Before heading out the door, Eileen grabs her Degas – after all, Lyle did just sign an $80 million syndication contract. That’s the spirit!

As soon as they arrive, Eileen makes a mad dash for cash as Julia spends her time snarling at Ellis. Cornering Lyle, Eileen tries to get him to buy her drawing for $200,000. He offers to front her the dough, if she can prove that Marilyn: The Musical is worth the money. Cha-ching!

Cue an impromptu rendition of the much-practiced musical number featuring Ivy in a painted-on dress and a motley crew of backup dancers, including Ellis looking like the wide-eyed freak that he is. Lyle is enamored with Ivy, so she asks him to show her the bedroom after she’s finished singing. Rawr. 

But instead of getting it on, they find Eileen staring longingly at the sketch she just sold. The usually stoic divorcee admits she’s reminiscing about the “past happiness” the Degas represents. Sorry, tweens, the littlest Jonas Brother must have had a “no nudity” clause in his contract.

Despite almost having knocked boots with a JoBro, Ivy calls Derek out for having his hand on another woman’s ass. He justifies it by saying he was just trying to drum up some money for the show. After trading barbs, Ivy asks him to show her the bedroom. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

In a less glamorous part of town, Karen and her new crew are tying one on at a bar. And, a la last week’s honky-tonk karaoke hoedown, Katharine McPhee gets to tick off her contractually guaranteed solo number by breaking into a choreographed rendition of Adele’s “Rumour Has It.” Hey, a girl’s gotta steal the spotlight somehow, right?

Last episode: Meet Joe DiMaggio


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