Emmy-winning actor Sean Hayes will be joining the second season of NBC’s musical comedy(?) Smash, a show that is already best known as a punchline on 30 Rock. Can the Will & Grace star save the show from campy demise?
Smash, the NBC Monday night show that will be going on to a second season despite all evidence that it should have been canceled three episodes in, is getting a new star. Jeremy Jordan, currently starring in Broadway’s Newsies, will be joining the cast of Smash, helping replace Jaime Cepero and Raza Jaffrey and Brian D’Arcy James (Ellis, Dev, and Frank, respectively), who are leaving the show.
“Pulitzer and Hearst, they think we’re nothing! Are we nothing?”
The opening chords of “The World Will Know,” the anthem of 1992’s live-action Disney film Newsies, are as recognizable to a generation of cult fans as “A Whole New World,” “Under the Sea” or Celine Dion crooning “Beauty and the Beast.”
Led by Christian Bale’s horrendous “New Yoik” accent, first-time director Kenny Ortega’s film about the 1899 newsboy strike was, superficially, a huge flop. It cost $15 million to make and brought in only $2 million at the box office. And the critics hated it: Roger Ebert called it “warmed-over Horatio Alger” and included his review in his 2000 book, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie!
David Rooney of The New York Times was even harsher, saying that the film “suffers from sluggish storytelling, a vocally challenged cast (led by an uncomfortable-looking Christian Bale) and poorly shot dance numbers bursting with anachronisms.
“It’s Oliver! meets Annie with quasi-breakdance moves,” he added derisively.
Yet somehow the cult of Newsies survived the film and now, two decades later, it’s back and headed for Broadway; the show begins previews next week at the Nederlander Theater. And this time, it has the whole world on its side.
Since we first saw Christian Bale prancing across dusty Manhattan streets belting “Santa Fe,” we’ve held a torch in our heart for the 1992 Disney live-action flop Newsies. We don’t even care the Roger Ebert once likened the film to “warmed-over Horatio Alger,” since deep down we knew that one day, we’d have the chance to audition for a stage production of the show. (In our fantasy, we weren’t Christian Bale/Jack Kelly’s love interest, Sarah, because she was a goody-goody. We were always Ann-Margret‘s brassy saloon singer, Medda Larkson.)
Now our dreams are that much closer to coming true, as the New Jersey production of Newsies at the Paper Mill Theater has just announced the full line-up for its Broadway debut on March 15th.
Hang on to your lids, kids. I actually liked the new Broadway musical version of Bonnie and Clyde. Didn’t love it, mind you. But the show, at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, is polished, touching and tuneful, a worthy showcase for a few professional performers in leading roles who are vastly entertaining and amount to nothing short of major discoveries. In a dreary Broadway season of nothing but deadly letdowns, including an unspeakable sonic blast from the pitch-impaired and tonally challenged Patti Lupone and Mandy Patinkin as well as the dreariest second-rate production of Follies in 40 years, at least there’s something to enjoy in addition to Hugh Jackman.