The New Smash

Better Style for Everyone!
Much of the love-hating of Smash centered on Julia's unflattering wardrobe of chunky scarves and sweater coats. Smashionistas, your complaints have been heard. ''Coming into a show second season gives you that rare chance to step back and go 'What can I change?' So we were able to [revisit] things like the scarves. We address it head-on.'' Taking a page from his Gossip Girl gig, Safran is also gifting the rest of the cast with more fashion-forward wardrobes.

New Faces and New Shows-Within-the-Show
While last season focused almost solely on Bombshell and its attempts to get on Broadway, the world of Smash will now be much broader in scope, with at least three new musicals and a crop of fresh characters, including Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson as Veronica Moore, an actress who mentors Karen. ''Ronnie is pretty much what Ivy and Karen hope to be,'' says Safran of Hudson's character, who will appear in three episodes. ''She's the best-case scenario — she's a multiple Tony winner. She offers Karen this advice of 'Making it is one thing and staying there is another.'''

On the other end of the spectrum are struggling composers Jimmy (Newsies' Jeremy Jordan) and Kyle (Andy Mientus), who work at Table 46, a bar based on real Broadway hangouts Joe Allen and Bar Centrale. They're writing an edgy rock musical about fame called Hit List. ''What makes seasons of theater interesting is all about the juxtaposition of styles,'' says Safran. ''We talked about Next to Normal going up against Billy Elliot. Avenue Q and Wicked.''

Cooler Music (and No More Bowling Alley Sing-Alongs)

''For me, the biggest thing that separates us from Glee is that original music is the major component of Smash,'' says Safran. So expect new songs from Bombshell as well as the debut of Hit List tunes, which are being crafted by a group of rising Broadway songwriters, including Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (A Christmas Story: The Musical). There will still be covers, like songs by Death Cab for Cutie and Robyn, but Safran says he's put a stop to those more ludicrous musical moments. Promises the producer, ''There's no bowling alley sing-alongs. There are fantasy sequences, but so far not on the level of the Bollywood [number]'' from season 1.

That's not to say that Smash is turning into a quiet drama. Broadway loves a spectacle, after all. Says Safran, ''In any season 2 the hope is that you can go even further than you did before, in terms of entertainment value, production value. We have more music this year. We have more musicals this year. Hopefully, people want to see more.''

Originally posted Dec 07, 2012 Published in issue #1237 Dec 07, 2012 Order article reprints