“Smash” 102: “You Got It. You’re Marilyn!”

 
 

Wow, I’m surprised, that was so fast. I really thought that the selection process for the starring role in Marilyn: The Musical would stretch out over several weeks. But by the end of tonight’s episode, we will have our Marilyn Monroe.

We open on Karen onstage singing the Blondie hit “Call Me” to an audience that includes Ellis, Tom, Julia, Eileen and Derek.

So, obviously a fantasy sequence, which is lucky because “Call Me” is entirely not a Katharine McPhee song. Karen snaps out of it at her waitressing job, stressed because it’s been four days since the callback with no word. “I wish they’d just call me,” she tells her co-worker. I see what you did there, Smash!

The very people for whose call Karen is waiting are gathered in Eileen’s office, hashing over their two choices. Tom is pushing hard for Ivy while Derek is championing Karen. Tom extols Ivy’s singing, dancing, acting and ten years of experience. Derek maintains that experience isn’t what they want in a Marilyn but quickly concedes that they can’t hand the role to a “complete neophyte…not without more information.”

Ellis is snooping outside the office door and Eileen’s assistant busts him, but before they can get into it Eileen pops her head out and instructs her assistant to get her someone from CAA (Creative Artists Agency). But it sounds like she says “CIA” which since they want more information is way funnier.

Meanwhile, Ivy, cute chorus boy Dennis and a female ensemble buddy do a classic Aaron Sorkin pedeconference down Broadway to allow Ivy to exposit that she and Karen are being brought in for another callback. Karen has to dance since Ivy already did “The National Pastime” and they both have to do scene work.

At City Hall, after Dev charms the pants off some reporters in his role as Deputy Press Secretary, Karen fills him in on the callback situation. He assures her she’ll wow the choreographer but when she informs him that the same director who summoned her at 10 PM for a “private rehearsal” is also choreographing, a seed of suspicion germinates. Dev notes she hasn’t told him what happened that night and she waters the seed by being wide-eyedly evasive.

The social worker is going over the packet for Frank and Julia’s adoption.

She explains that everything they’ve gathered will get bundled with a bunch of other applications, sent to Beijing and translated into Mandarin. It would actually probably be translated into Standard Chinese but I digress. Once the application is accepted, the waiting begins. It can take up to two years to get a baby. Frank protests that they’ve been at it for ten months already. The social worker sympathizes, noting that the waiting is the hardest part. This, thankfully, is not a cue for the Tom Petty song.

Karen is late to dance rehearsal but luckily one of the dancers is late for the same reason so Derek doesn’t pitch too big of a fit. He cues up a recording of Tom (whom Derek snits “would make a lovely Marilyn!”) singing a new song, “The Twentieth Century Fox Mambo.” Derek’s assistant Josh demonstrates the first sequence while Karen and Dennis look on, Dennis possibly being more interested in Josh’s ass than his feet. Derek takes Karen through the routine while Dennis stands to the side, obviously thinking “I will cut you.” He gives Ivy a scouting report after the commercial; he’s not impressed and she’s from Iowa for god’s sake.

Tom and Julia work on the lineup for the musical, re-arranging index cards on a cork board. There look to be thirteen index cards representing musical numbers, for what that’s worth. Tom moves “Let Me Be Your Star” from the opening of Act 2 to the close of Act 1, “right after the DiMaggio duet.” I refuse to believe that any Broadway professional would have started with that number anywhere but the close of Act 1. He puts “the breakup number” at the top of Act 2.

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