Not sure if you guys have heard, but NBC has a new show called Smash that's premiering tonight. Yeah, they haven't been promoting it much or anything, there haven't been a billion ads everywhere for months and months now, so it's understandable that some of you might not have heard about this show. But the point is that, yes, NBC has a show called Smash, about putting together a Broadway musical, premiering tonight at 10pm, and you should watch it. Really, you should!
Plenty of people have already seen the pilot, as it's been on iTunes for the past week or so, and many folks have reviewed it already, so you might be sick of hearing about this show today. But, well, we don't care. It's important that you watch this show, because it stands for a few things that are pretty important things to stand for. Important, perhaps, in a very relative or specific sense, but still important nonetheless.
First off, theater needs you. And it just might need Smash. The show, from popular playwright Theresa Rebeck, is not about the scrappy world of off-off-Broadway or even, gulp, regional theater (for that you'll have to consult the fabulous Canadian show Slings & Arrows). It's about the big business of the Broadway musical. So if there is a 99 percent-1 percent relationship in theater, this is firmly about the 1 percent. But still theater as a whole, whether we're talking Spider Man or a one man show in Kansas City, could always use a new infusion of audience members — people in the industry often bemoan the graying of the American theater audience, which can be easily seen in person should you attend most any play these days. It's a sea of geezers, and while geezers are great and all, there need to be a few healthy generations of theatergoers behind them. Theater is an increasingly struggling industry but still, we think at least, vital to the nation's cultural health. So if a show like Smash can become a hit, then there's maybe renewed interest in seeing Broadway shows, which, when people go back home after a New York trip, can breed new interest in seeing regional shows, and thus new regular ticket buyers are born! Yeah, Glee has already done something similar, but for a slightly younger demo than this show is targeting, and anyway that show is less specifically about theater than Smash is. Sure Smash is not always terribly realistic about how the theater biz actually works, and yeah it concerns the mainstreamest kind of mainstream show, but still this is a situation where trickle-down economics could actually work. You don't even need to pay attention! Just turn the TV to NBC and let it play while you do whatever else. Your cousin who does community theater will thank you. (With free tickets to Carousel! Just pretend you're out of town that weekend or something.)