Smash's April 23 episode is a good night for original tunes — and for songwriters Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray), who crafted a pair of ditties just for the episode.
The splashiest is a Bollywood number featuring almost the entire cast, including a few actors we're not used to seeing take center stage. "I'd seen Raza Jaffrey, who plays Dev, in the musical Bombay Dreams in London," says Wittman. "So I said wouldn't it be fun to find a way to get him to sing?"
What they've come up with is a colorful situation centered on Karen and Dev's strained relationship that draws in Anjelica Huston's Eileen, as well as Uma Thurman's movie-star character, Rebecca Duvall. "It's such a wild atmosphere in the middle of all the drama that is going on," continues Wittman. "Marc said we finally figured out where we belong, because in Bollywood, too much is never enough!"
On a more emotional note, the duo has also penned, for the Bombshell musical-within-the-show, a loving tribute to Marilyn Monroe's most prized possession: her family's white baby grand piano that was auctioned off after her mother was committed to a psych ward. "For her entire life she was looking for this piano until she found it at another auction and bought it back," says Wittman of the ivories now owned by Marilyn aficionado Mariah Carey. "It was the one thing she kept with her [until her death]. It was even in the Brentwood house when she died."
Called "Second-Hand White Baby Grand," it is "the only song we wrote without it being specifically for an episode," confesses Shaiman. "The story was just so good, it inspired us." It makes sense, then, that Wittman and Shaiman are not just thrilled that both Katharine McPhee's Karen and Megan Hilty's Ivy perform the song, but that the composition found a spot in the hour at all. "The law for the year has been only one original song per episode," says Shaiman. "It just so happened that this song landed in the same episode that Scott had the idea for the Bollywood number."
Sums up Wittman: "It's the one that is nearest and dearest to our hearts."
Below is an exclusive look at Ivy's take on the tune. We think Norma Jean would be so proud. How about you?