Steven Spielberg knows a cash cow when he sees one. And if it’s a singing cash cow, all the better.
The famed filmmaker is putting together an NBC pilot in the vein of “Glee” — “Smash” is described as an hourlong musical comedy with an ensemble cast.
There are a few differences between the two. While “Glee” is about teenagers navigating high school, “Smash” follows a host of theatre types in their quest to put on a musical about Marilyn Monroe. While “Glee” trades in covers and mashups (although last night’s episode implied that the kids may try to write a song soon) “Smash” will have original tunes.
And while “Glee” came to television with a cast of unknowns (remember when you didn’t know who Lea Michele was?), “Smash” is clearly looking to draw power from a few familiar names. Debra Messing will star, and Katharine McPhee just signed on this week.
But two lovely ladies does not an ensemble make — and the last time we checked, there’s no such thing as too much star power. So here are eight names Spielberg should keep in mind as he staffs up.
The actress who played third fiddle to Beyonce and Jennifer Hudson in 'Dreamgirls' is more than ready to step into the spotlight. She's got a great voice, and her arc as a politician on 'The Good Wife' has proven how great she can be in a strong-woman role.
'Glee' wouldn't be half as much fun without Jane Lynch, right? 'Smash' needs a magnetic figure with a great smirk and a flair for one-liners. No one could be more masterful -- and better matched with the material -- than Tucci.
Jack Davenport ('FlashForward') has already been cast in 'Smash,' but we still need some more heartthrob potential. Bartha (who went missing as Doug in 'The Hangover') earned kudos for his Broadway debut in 'Lend Me a Tenor' last year. And speaking of Broadway...
Lea Michele and Jonathan Groff burnt up the stage in 'Spring Awakening' before hitting the 'Glee' jackpot -- so we're sure Spielberg's got his scouts combing through tape of the Great White Way's hottest young things. Benjamin Walker's performance in 'Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson' was one of Broadway's biggest headlines last year. Same goes for Montego Glover in 'Memphis.'
And if Spielberg likes the Broadway idea, but wants someone with a little more small-screen experience: look no further than Sutton Foster. She's been a big Broadway name for years now, but was equally as delightful in 'Flight of the Conchords' on HBO.
Realistically, these two names may be better for the guest-starring pool. But never underestimate the power of giving an actress who likes to sing a chance to take the mic.
Sure, it's a naked (no pun intended) grab for free publicity. But La Lohan has always loved gabbing about her Marilyn Monroe obsession -- and she might just get her act together for this homage. Actress Megan Hilty has already been cast as a character who's told she's too old to play Monroe in the musical. Lohan is five years younger -- so maybe she'd be perfect as the girl who's perfect for the part.
When in doubt, poach. Remember this pint-sized vocal powerhouse? 'Glee' brought her on last year -- then promptly forgot about her. Though her return is rumoured to be imminent, there's no series-regular contract with Corazon's name on it -- yet. Time for Spielberg to step in.
And if he's looking for more ideas, Arianna always has some. She'll be in her new office if you need her.
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