It was a fictional musical in a failed television show. But now, at least for one starry night, it is coming to life.
“Bombshell,” the play-within-a-play whose development propelled the much-loathed but also loved-by-many NBC series “Smash,” will be produced before a live audience to raise money for charity in a staged concert in June.
The event is the latest, and largest, effort by fans of the television series – or at least admirers of its component parts – to breathe new life into material created for the show, much of which was written and performed by respected Broadway artists.
“‘Smash,’ since its absence, has taken on a cult status,” Neil Meron, one of the show’s producers, said. “We have this great score, and the cast loves each other, so we thought, why don’t we try to do a concert version?”
“Bombshell” is actually one of two musicals developed within “Smash”: they were pitted against each other in a race for awards during the show’s second, and final, season. “Bombshell” tells the story of Marilyn Monroe’s life; the rival show, “Hit List,” was about a pop singer’s complex relationship with a songwriter who helps her reinvent her act.
The actors Jeremy Jordan, Andy Mientus and Krysta Rodriguez performed the songs from “Hit List” in a sold-out series of concerts at 54 Below in December 2013, and then performed other songs connected to “Hit List” at the same venue earlier this month.
Songs for “Bombshell” were written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Tony winners for their work on “Hairspray.” A cast album of the fictional musical was released in 2012, but “Bombshell” has not been performed in full.
“When we started doing the TV series, we thought it was Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman’s best work since ‘Hairspray,’ and we always believed it was something that needed to be heard as an entity, instead of just hearing a song here and there,” said Craig Zadan, who is producing the concert along with Mr. Meron. The two were among multiple producers of the television show, including Steven Spielberg, who came up with the idea for “Smash.”
The concert is expected to star five of the lead “Smash” actors: Christian Borle, Will Chase, Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee and Debra Messing. It will take place on June 8 at the 1,700-seat Minskoff Theater, and will benefit the Actors Fund, a social services organization that assists arts and entertainment industry workers.
Tickets are being sold via Ticketmaster starting April 14; people who help finance the concert by donating through Kickstarter will be able to buy tickets starting April 13.
Although “Smash” failed to attract a big enough TV audience to be renewed, it had a concentrated fan base, particularly in the world of theater-lovers.
“When it was happening, people paid attention to the hate-watching and the hate-Tweeting, but there is a huge contingent that loved the music and the actors and want to see these fictional shows again,” said Jennifer Ashley Tepper, the director of programming at 54 Below. “I cannot even tell you how many emails I get – YouTube videos, kids in Japan who want to do ‘Hit List.’ The music was beloved, even if the show didn’t succeed.”
Asked whether any material from “Smash” might find its way to an actual stage, the producers demurred. “There’s been no plan to create a show out of this,” Mr. Zadan said. “It’s only a charity event. There’s a good chance everyone will have a good time, it will be an exciting night, and nothing will happen.”