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  06-13-2011, 07:07 AM
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his weekend, the Broadway world gets ready for the Tony Awards, hosted tonight by Neil Patrick Harris, who will also perform a song with the cast (including Jon Cryer and Stephen Colbert) of the recent concert production 'Company.'

Meanwhile, the TV world is getting ready to bring all the backstage drama of the NYC theater industry onto the small screen with an upcoming series called 'Smash.'

The new NBC show, from executive producer Steven Spielberg, stars 'American Idol' runner-up Katharine McPhee as an underdog actress seeking musical-theater stardom, and 'Will & Grace' Emmy winner Debra Messing as the creator of a new production about Marilyn Monroe. In the pilot, Oscar winner Anjelica Huston pops up in a supporting role.

With ample musical numbers and themes of ambition, it's clear the recipe for success that worked for 'Glee' is influencing Messing's new series. But will the fact that 'Smash' focuses on adults (not high schoolers) be a boon, or a bore? Although millions love the the over-the-top song and dance antics of MicKinley High's teen divas, NBC's new venture will challenge viewers to come along for a more grown-up ride, much of it set to music. Check out this preview:

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'Smash' will premiere sometime midseason on NBC's Monday primetime schedule, according to EW.com, and will feature both original songs and covers, from the classic 'Somwhere Over the Rainbow' to Christina Aguilera's 'Beautiful.'

McPhee, 27, looks and sounds smashing in the preview clip. And she has another reason to smile: In addition to singing on the series soundtrack, which is already in the works at Columbia Records, she just landed a new solo record deal. The vocalist has already released three albums since her 'Idol' season ended, including a Christmas album that performed poorly on the charts, selling less than 25,000 copies after its October 2010 release. Still, McPhee's loyal fans certainly hope the new show pans out to be exactly what it advertises: a smash.
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