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.