Does 'Smash' Capture Cutthroat Broadway Politics?
In 1974, executive producer Craig Zadan wrote Sondheim & Company, which explored the behind-the-scenes goings-on during the making of several Stephen Sondheim musicals. Despite the passage of time, the cutthroat nature backstage hasn’t diminished, said Zadan. In fact, it's gotten worse, and Smash captures it to perfection.
“The ruthlessness of it hasn’t changed, and I think it’s gotten more diabolical with the Internet,” he said. “The worst thing that ever happened to Broadway were the chat rooms. You no longer have any ability to go anywhere in the world and work on your show … There’s somebody tweeting or putting stuff on Facebook, or emailing or texting, and you have no privacy to create, and you’re judged instantaneously. The creative process doesn’t work that way: you need to be able to fail and regroup and fix it.”
Which means that Smash, which filmed more than 10 of its 15 episodes ahead of launch, benefited from being produced outside of that type of scrutiny.
“They are the authentic voice of Theresa, unencumbered by public opinion,” said executive producer Neil Meron, “so we rise and fall on this very clear vision that she has without it being altered.”