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‘Bombshell’ Might Live Again — Onstage

There are a lot of unusual paths from page to stage, but here’s one of the more meta: the imaginary show-within-a-show at the heart of a star-crossed television series is now being adapted for possible real world production.

NBC Entertainment and Universal Pictures on Monday said that they would begin an effort to develop “Bombshell,” the Marilyn Monroe bio-musical featured in “Smash,” from a collection of songs into a full-blown show.

There remain multiple uncertainties: the studios did not announce a book writer or a timeline, nor did they commit to an actual production. But the project has considerable talent behind it: Universal Stage Productions, whose musicals include “Wicked” and “Billy Elliot”; Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, producers best known for the Oscar winning film adaptation of “Chicago”; Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, a composer and lyricist team who collaborated on “Hairspray”; and Joshua Bergasse, the choreographer who went on to do “On the Town.” Steven Spielberg, who was the television show’s executive producer, will play an unspecified role.

“No matter what you say about Marilyn Monroe, she is one of the most potent figures of our time, and there’s no diminishing of it,” said Robert Greenblatt, the chairman of NBC Entertainment. “It just is an endlessly fascinating life and story, and we think there’s something to harness there.”

The project marks the latest twist for “Smash,” a short-lived television series created by the playwright Theresa Rebeck that was loved and hated, at times by the same people. Since the show’s cancellation, the ardor of its fans seems to have intensified, and the“Bombshell” concert on June 8, which raised $800,000 for the Actors Fund, was rapturously received by a sold-out audience of nearly 1,700 people at the Minskoff Theater. (Appropriately enough, a rival, edgier musical within “Smash,” called “Hit List,”has also been performed in concert form, but at a more intimate venue: 54 Below.)

“Bombshell” would not be the first attempt to musicalize Monroe’s life. “Marilyn: An American Fable” opened on Broadway in 1983, but closed quickly after 34 previews and 17 performances.

[via NY Times]