What does it take to make a hit Broadway musical? It is vital to have just the right cast members (lead and ensemble), the right director (even if he is known as the “Dark Prince” behind the scenes), a good composing/writing team (even if they are a little quirky and hiding secrets) and the right backing (or at least the backing you thought was going to come through).
What cost does one person have to pay to take the idea of Marilyn the Musical and make it into a successful Broadway play? Well, in the case of Eileen Rand, who has a sleazy soon-to-be-ex-husband who is very clever – maybe too clever – with his money (and the money of any important backers in town for that matter – you may end up having to pay “The Cost of Art” by giving up a priceless piece of art from your wedding day.
But before we get into that underlying problem, it is the first day of the Marilyn workshop with the dancers and creative team all arriving for the big day. Tensions are high among all the central and secondary characters with the ensemble members all looking down their noses at Karen, the newbie from Iowa; and Julia making sure that she is not sitting near Ellis and that Tom and Derek are kept as far apart as possible. Oh, the drama!
And then there is Ivy who arrives to the studio late (on purpose perhaps?) to not only learn that her rival Karen is part of the ensemble – a little detail that lover (and director of the play) Derek has conveniently overlooked in telling her – but also that an old friend of hers from 6 years earlier – Sam – is back in town and part of the ensemble.
Back to Eileen and her worries over money issues for the workshop. Her ex Jerry has screwed her over once again and it looks like her only way to get the needed funds is to sell a Degas – yes, a real Degas – that she received as a gift from Jerry on their wedding day. But, since his name is listed as the owner, she cannot sell it outright to any art gallery nor but it up for auction.
Fortunately, enter young TV star Lyle West (guest star Nick Jonas), who Eileen worked with when he was 11 years old; and who was actually discovered by Tom although the way Derek tells the story, he discovered young Lyle – but that’s a story for another time. Lyle is in New York City and it just happens to be his birthday. Derek has planned a big birthday bash for the hot young celeb at his apartment and everyone who is everyone will be invited, including all of the key players in Marilyn the Musical.
This is Eileen’s chance to find another source of money; but in order to sell young Lyle on the play, Eileen enlists Julia to get Tom (who happens to be on a blind date set up by, of all people, his mother) and Michael (who is at home with his wife and son) to join them at the party. They put on an impromptu number from the play to impress Lyle, who soon enough consents to providing Eileen the money for the play in a round-about way.
Another storyline ongoing throughout the episode is Karen feeling out of place within the ensemble and not being able to blend. She is simply singing too loudly and distracting Ivy. Karen’s lack of backing off gets her into a bit of trouble, being pushed to the back of the ensemble and then eventually being pulled out all together. It also doesn’t help that Ivy is acting a little too much like a diva, using the fact that she is sleeping with Derek to her advantage and that all of the other ensemble members are her friends. It is simply gang up on newbie Karen time; but, thankfully, Karen doesn’t take that sitting down (for long). Karen stands up for herself against one of the ensemble members, who has a moment of enlightenment, and decides to take Karen under her wing – along with two of the other ensemble members. The trio gives Karen some pointers on what to wear to the workshop, how to blend in with the ensemble better and even provide an intervention on her own personal closet at home.
And, at least this episode provided better musical numbers (than last week) including Karen singing Adele’s hit single “Rumor Has It”, Lyle singing Michael Buble’s “Haven’t Meet You Yet” and another new song from Marilyn the Musical being featured. Hopefully that will continue in the next few episodes and pull some viewers back in to this already not-so-smashing new series.
“The Cost of Art” is the fourth episode of the new series Smash on NBC. The next new episode of Smash will air Monday, March 5 at10/9c.
What did you think of this episode? Did you like this episode better than last week? Were you pleased to finally see some movement on Marilyn the Musical with the start of the workshop? How long do you think it will take for Karen and Ivy to get into a catfight? How long will it take until Derek and Tom have their own version of a catfight? Do you think Lyle will actually become the backer that Eileen so desperately needs? Please share your thoughts on this episode in our comments section below.