“This is all for a TV show?” That was the resounding refrain Thursday night when NBC, the Cinema Society, and Volvo hosted a blowout premiere for Smash, the hotly anticipated Steven Spielberg-produced TV series about the making of a Broadway musical. After watching Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty belt their hearts out in the pilot, cast members like Debra Messing, Brian D’Arcy James, and Jack Davenport headed to the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for drinks and a lavish spread. The event felt more like a Tony Awards afterparty than a small screen fête.
Plates were piled high with lobster tails, carved roast beef, and poached salmon, and glasses refilled with champagne (“not prosecco—no headache tomorrow!” quipped one guest). Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick lounged on a black sofa near a three-piece orchestra playing in the temple’s center, while a Broadway show’s worth of stars like Bebe Neuwirth, Bernadette Peters, Nathan Lane, and Victor Garber milled around. Surprisingly, I learned that Anjelica Huston, who plays the strong-willed executive producer Eileen on Smash, has only been on the Great White Way once, as an understudy for Ophelia in a 1969 production of Hamlet. Perhaps her current role may lure her back to Broadway. “It’s warming me up!” said the actress. “I hope I have the courage.”