The drama continues on episodes 8, 9, and 10 of Smash. In a bold move, Derek actually tries to hijack the show from Tom and Julia by finding another songwriter (OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder) and convincing Karen to help him stage a new number, "Touch Me." If he was looking to take the show in another direction, he certainly did with this one. But the verdict comes in against the sexy, pop-inspired performance when Tom and Julia are finally invited to view it. Thanks in part to a morality check from her visiting daughter (Grace Gummer, daughter of the illustrious Meryl Streep), Eileen apologizes for the creative coup. Sometimes, creative teams part ways when developing shows, and it can get pretty ugly. We need look no further than the recent scandal with Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, in which director and co-creator Julie Taymor (The Lion King) was let go because of creative differences. There is a lot at stake in the making of a Broadway musical, including reputations and the money of a lot of investors, so things can definitely get ugly.
In another creative change, Eileen decides that the musical needs a star to sell it to investors, which crushes Ivy. In a downward spiral, she turns to drugs to numb the pain and ends up collapsing while performing in the ensemble of Hell on Earth. In an unlikely and initially unwelcomed turn, Karen accompanies Ivy on a jaunt around Times Square while she vents about her tough luck. There even seems to be a glimmer of hope for friendship between the two rivals. Incidentally, star names not only sell shows to investors, but to audiences as well. Some shows cast stars from the start (see the current revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, which opened with Daniel Radcliffe in the lead role), and some shows pull in stars to help a show keep attracting patrons (see Raven-Symone's Broadway debut in Sister Act). Either way, Smash does here what it does so well: reveals the drama behind the headlines; for every TV or movie star that is cast, there is a Broadway performer who was passed over. It's a tough business.
In Episode 10, "Understudy," the development and presentation of Bombshell is put on hold because Rebecca Duvall (played by the radiant Uma Thurman), the movie star tapped to play Marilyn, is stuck in Cuba. Whether or not that is actually why she is days late, it is clear that she is not as reliable as Ivy or Karen, who would drop anything for the role. But Eileen believes they need her star power, so she pulls some personal strings to get a very big investor, forsaking all others. It seems like an obviously impulsive and risky decision to hinge the musical's financial well-being on one alcoholic rock star, but Eileen might be influenced by her freeing affair with the sweet and helpful bartender. Most shows have multiple investors; after all, diversifying provides more security. The current Broadway revival of Godspell actually has hundreds of producers. Lead producer Ken Davenport recruited the "People of Godspell," anyone who had at least $1,000 to invest in the show, to finance the revival, making it "the first community-produced Broadway musical." This is a much more democratic approach to fundraising, allowing more people to support projects they believe in rather than relying on a couple of fickle, rich contributors. In an increasingly socially active and interconnected society, this just might be the future of Broadway.
Oh, and Tom's relationship with his mismatched lawyer boyfriend seems over as Tom fawns over dancer Sam, Dev and Karen are on the rocks as jealousy shows its ugly face, and Julia's marriage is in shambles after Frank finds out about her affair with Michael. Let's hope something good happens in someone's personal life next week; this is getting pretty depressing.