SMASH makes its long-awaited return to the NBC lineup for a second season on Tuesday, February 5 (9-10 p.m. ET) and will continue in its regular time slot on Tuesday, February 12 (10-11 p.m. ET). Season two will feature a slew of new talent, including Jennifer Hudson, Jeremy Jordan, Andy Mientus, Krysta Rodriguez, Sean Hayes, Jesse L. Martin, Liza Minnelli, Bernadette Peters, Nikki Blonski, and more.
BroadwayWorld's own Richard Ridge was invited to the SMASH set where he got to chat with new costar and Broadway veteran Krysta Rodriguez about the upcoming season. Check out what she had to say about joining the world of television, how she earned the role, and more, below!
How exciting is to be working on television? You're a Broadway baby, tell me about the TV world?
It's awesome! I really didn't expect to love the work so much. I really enjoy it, particularly because I get to do a musical, so it's like getting to do what I know in a genre that I'm not as familiar with so it was a little easier transition. Everyone's so awesome and we get to do so many cool things on the show that I haven't gotten to do yet.
How did the old cast members welcome the new kids?
Oh, it was really easy, it was a really nice transition. I had known Kat sort of before, and I knew Jeremy and Andy, peripherally from Broadway, so we all were new kids. And there were some new people that came in at all the same time so it didn't feel like one new person in a group of people that were already established. Everyone was really game to start afresh.
What's the backstory to your character? We see her kind of appear in the first episode. What's behind her? No one knew how you guys met.
I know! Well, they did if they hadn't cut the scene. We were about six minutes over in the episode so they cut it out. I am a performer; I am a dancer-singer-actress and Kat and I knew each other from before, from our waitressing days. But I was on tour last season, which is why I wasn't around. And then when she breaks up with her boyfriend, I have a room open because my roommate goes on the Disney cruise as I mention in the episode. I was on the West Side Story tour, I was playing Rosalita. There was a whole thing where I give her shoes from the show because I stole them from wardrobe--there was all this insider stuff that got cut. The casualty of not doing a live show! Yeah, so we've been friends and then she moves in with me and we just sort of navigate theater together and I end up being in HitList which is the new show this season. So I work my way through that.
Can you tell us a little bit about HitList and who you're playing?
Well, I'm going to hold back some things but I want to tell you who I'm playing. It starts off as a show with these two young writers whom Jeremy and Andy play, called Kyle and Jimmy, and they're these people who are really talented but don't really know how to get their stuff out there. And then they meet Karen and she introduces them to this world of Broadway that she's become a part of. And it starts off as a Fringe show, gets a lot of traction, it moves off-Broadway very quickly, gets a lot of traction, and then we're hoping that it will move to Broadway and give Bombshell a run for its money in the season this year. So that's what the show is, it's a very--you know, in the genre of Rent or Spring Awakening, it's very hip, it's very young. It's being written by current pop Broadway writers right now, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Joe Iconis, Drew Gasparini, and Andrew McMann. They're all young writers so it's got that authentic feel. It's essentially about fame and what people will do to achieve it, in this sort of era of Lady Gaga and Madonna and people who reinvent themselves to become famous so that's sort of the over-reaching theme. It's got some darker themes about love and death--all those sorts of things that those young hip musicals have!