Could "Smash" Star Megan Hilty Be Any More Awesome?
I'll admit it: I have a big ol' girl crush on Megan Hilty. The gorgeous blonde may play an actress auditioning for a Marilyn Monroe musical in the new TV series "Smash," which premieres February 6 on NBC, but she's not your typical Marilyn-esque bombshell. Hilty's an intelligent performer with a serious voice, who in real life has already had star turns on Broadway in shows like 9 to 5 and Wicked. I was able to chat with Hilty for a few minutes this morning, during one of her rare breaks from "Smash"'s busy shooting schedule. (What, you think those fabulous musical numbers just happen?) Read on for her scoop from the set—and if you haven't already, watch "Smash"'s pilot episode for free right now on nbc.com!
When did you first hear about "Smash"?
Well, last pilot season, I was looking through all the new scripts, and this one stuck out like a sore thumb—it seemed too good to be true to have a TV show about the world I grew up in! But I was a little nervous. The role they wanted me to go out for was a big dancing part, and while I took dance classes all through high school and college and am a pretty good mover, I’ve never called myself a dancer—it’s never been my forte. Luckily, they hired this incredible choreographer, Josh Bergasse [read DS's interview with Bergasse in our February issue!]. He's our secret weapon—I swear, he's going to be the biggest star of out of everybody on the show. He does such an incredible job of telling a story through movement. And he makes me look like I know what I’m doing.
I kept seeing familiar Broadway faces pop up in the pilot. Does having lots of Broadway veterans on set help "Smash" feel more authentic?
Absolutely—and it’s great that I get to do this show with all my friends! I love showing up in the makeup trailer and seeing people I’ve been on Broadway with, or done summer stock with, or gone to school with. "Smash" is doing it right: They’re hiring all the people this show is celebrating.
What makes this show unique?
The characters in "Smash" are people you’ve never met before. You can relate to them, but they’re not stock characters you’ve seen on other shows. They’re all beautifully flawed: They make huge mistakes, but you’re rooting for them at the same time. And of course there's the musical component, which takes the show to another level. Just as they do in a good musical, the songs drive "Smash"'s plot, expressing thoughts and feelings that the characters couldn’t just say.
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽