Rising Stars: Katharine McPhee and Megan Hilty

I am introducing a new segment on Once Upon a Dreamer called ‘Rising Stars‘, where I will highlight the emerging talents who just so happen to capture my attention and interest.

Two of my favourite things in life are musicals and Marilyn Monroe. What could be a more winning combination than a musical about Marilyn Monroe? On NBC’s new drama-musical, SMASH, two writers, Julia and Tom (Debra Messing and Christian Borle), a producer, Eileen (Anjelica Huston) and a director, Derek (Jack Davenport) are determined to launch the next Broadway hit by showcasing the life of one of Hollywood’s most legendary actresses.

At the forefront of the project are the two ladies vying for the lead, the ingenue, Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee) and the theatre-trained Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty). As evident from their SMASH-ing performances in “Let Me Be Your Star“, both women are worthy candidates for the role of a lifetime. Ivy has perfected the blonde bombshell look with the flirtatious mannerisms of Ms. Monroe, and Karen embodies the innocence and naivety of Norma Jean. For me, I wish the question wasn’t “Who is the best Marilyn?” but “How can we combine the two to make the perfect Marilyn?”

After being bombarded with promos for this show for many months, I am happy that SMASH lives up to all of the hype, with great props to its amazing cast! I’ve always appreciated Katharine McPhee’s remarkable talent. Her performance of “Over the Rainbow” on American Idol was one of the best vocals I’ve ever heard on the show, and her song, “Terrified” is terrific. I didn’t know Megan Hilty before SMASH, but I’ve heard wonderful reviews about her performances in Broadway’s 9 to 5: Musical and Wicked, and I am now in love with her incredible voice and presence. I strongly believe that Katharine and Megan will be two of 2012’s biggest breakout stars!

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