NBC’s “Smash” is about the backstage drama of a Broadway-bound tuner, but star Jack Davenport admits that until recently he wasn’t a fan of the genre. “My knowledge of musical theater up to this point was defined by the fact that I didn’t really like musicals very much. I would always sit there thinking, ‘Why are you singing? Just say it!'” he explains.
Starring on “Smash” has helped reform his opinion as did seeing “The Book of Mormon” on Broadway. He calls Trey Parker and Matt Stone‘s irreverent Tony winner “the single most deliriously joyous evening I’ve spent in a theater probably in twenty years. And in fact that show in many ways is responsible for completely reorienting my attitude toward musicals in general.”
On “Smash,” Davenport plays Derek Wills, the director and choreographer of a musical about silver-screen icon Marilyn Monroe. Wills has a tyrannical management style that seldom takes into account the feelings of his actors, composers, or producers. “It’s quite liberating and quite fun,” he admits, “to play someone who doesn’t really genuinely care what other people think about him. I don’t know about you, but sadly I do care what other people think about me. I wish I didn’t, but I do.”
The show itself incorporates musical elements into its storytelling, with characters rehearsing numbers for the show-within-the-show, and elsewhere breaking into song during their everyday lives. As yet, Davenport has not been called upon to sing on the series. He’s grateful for that, and he believes the audience should be as well. “We’re lousy with fine singers on the show, so why anyone would want a bona fide terrible singer to sing something is beyond me,” he says, adding, “Even Auto-Tune probably couldn’t tune out the horror that is my slightly tone-deaf warbling.”
Don’t miss important Emmy news and predictions – Get free Gold Derby updates