Curtain Up! Hit the Lights! SMASH Opens February 6 on CTV

- Star-packed ensemble reveals personal favourite Broadway memories -
- Cast members Megan Hilty and Jack Davenport reveal exclusive information -
- Music from SMASH to be made available Mondays beginning Feb. 6 -
- Three-day advance digital screening begins Feb. 3 on multiple platforms -

"This is the most exciting project on television I've been involved with since we did ER in 1994…" - Steven Spielberg to E!'s Leah Miller

"It really is a dream come true." - Katharine McPhee to ETALK's Ben Mulroney about her role on SMASH

To tweet this release: http://bit.ly/y1gB4i

TORONTO, Jan. 24, 2012 /CNW/ - The rave reviews are in and the stage is set for the highly anticipated new musical drama SMASH, premiering Monday, Feb. 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, following the lead-in of a two-hour episode of the hit competition series THE VOICE at 8 p.m. ET/PT (visit CTV.ca to confirm local broadcast times). In advance of opening night, cast members revealed today Broadway memories exclusively for Canadians. From an award-winning producing team led by Academy Award®-winner Steven Spielberg, powerhouse award-winning musical team Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman (Hairspray), and rounded out by some of the biggest names from stage and screen, SMASH hits all the right notes as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all want to be a "SMASH" hit on Broadway. Airing Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CTV, the series also airs on Bravo! beginning Friday, Feb. 10 at 9 p.m. ET.

**Media Note** Photography for SMASH is available online at BellMediaPR.ca. Watch a clip from the premiere episode here.

Without a doubt the most buzzed-about show of the season, SMASH is receiving "universal praise from TV Critics" (Winnipeg Free Press), who are touting it as "creatively strong" (Entertainment Weekly), and "wildly anticipated" (Los Angeles Times), with a "knock-out cast" (Postmedia News).

And, to feed the excitement surrounding the series, Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc. will release the songs performed each week in the series by stars Katharine McPhee, Megan Hilty and others - a mixture of pop, Broadway standards and original music. Starting Feb. 6, every Monday morning Sony Music will release digitally 2-3 songs that are featured in that night's episode to consumers and radio stations across the country.

So many artists have dreams of making it big on Broadway. SMASH gives viewers a glimpse into the highlights and the lowlights of what it takes to make it on "The Great White Way." The stellar cast of SMASH have all been inspired by Broadway in some way or another. Below are a few of their favourite memories.

Debra Messing, who portrays celebrated Broadway writer Julia Houston - "The first Broadway show I saw was Annie and it was life changing. I nearly levitated out of my seat I was so amazed. All I could say to my parents afterwards was 'I want to do that!'"

Anjelica Huston, who portrays established Broadway producer Eileen Rand - "The first time I came to Broadway was in 1969, as an understudy for Ophelia, in Tony Richardson's production of Hamlet at the Lunt-Fontanne. I had understudied Marianne Faithfull at the Roundhouse in London, and gone onstage quite a few times. But Francesca Annis replaced Marianne when the production travelled to New York City, and Francesca was not an understudy's dream …much to my disappointment, she never missed a performance!"

Katharine McPhee, who portrays talented Broadway new-comer Karen Cartwright - "I remember seeing Les Miserables on my first trip to New York. It's such an iconic show and so powerful. It was an incredible night and something I will never forget."

Megan Hilty, who portrays seasoned Broadway triple-threat Ivy Lynn - "My very first Broadway experience was watching the famous videotape recording of Into the Woods with the original cast. I instantly fell in love with the stories and the music - and that's when I became a huge fan of Bernadette Peters. Her performance was thrilling and ultimately inspired me to seriously consider a career in the performing arts."

Jack Davenport, who portrays bad-boy Broadway director Derek Wills - "My first Broadway experience was technically speaking off-Broadway, but extremely memorable nonetheless. Twenty years ago, I found myself in the audience for one of the very first performances of The Blue Man Group. I wish I could say I'd been to a profound production of The Iceman Cometh, but it was blue men and drumming for me."

Christian Borle, who portrays composer Tom Levitt - "When I first moved to New York City to try to get a job on Broadway, I would fork over my savings to see shows at theatres like The Shubert, The Richard Rodgers, The Music Box and The Palace. Sitting in the cheap, nose-bleed seats in historic old houses, watching performers the size of ants, I felt happy. Sepia-toned, toe-tapping, childhood happy."

The SMASH ensemble cast includes many familiar award-winning actors, but just like Broadway, there is always new talent to discover. They may not yet be household names, but it won't take long for viewers to fall in love with SMASH stars Jack Davenport who plays seductive bad boy Derek Wills, one of Broadway's most brilliant director-choreographers, and Megan Hilty, who plays Ivy Lynn, an ensemble performer who has spent years pursuing stardom only to be bumped back into the chorus again and again. The two actors share some of their favourite things exclusively with CTV:

Jack Davenport - While shooting SMASH in New York City, Davenport's go-to spot is Prospect Park. When asked to name his favourite Canadian, Davenport is quick to name the "absurdly brilliant" actress Molly Parker. His character on SMASH may be a villain, but when Davenport wants to hear his favourite Broadway tune, it's "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy that pulls on his heart strings.

Megan Hilty - In SMASH there are two Marilyns but there is only one Megan. Having starred on Broadway, Hilty is no stranger to the bustling streets of New York, and escapes to Central Park as "it's the perfect peaceful getaway whenever the city starts to feel overwhelming." When asked about a favourite Canadian, Hilty has two - her two Jack Russell Terriers that she adopted in Toronto while she was on tour with Wicked.

In real life and in SMASH, there's nothing more exciting than the opening night of a hit Broadway musical - except maybe what it takes to get there. When Julia (Emmy® Award-winner Debra Messing, WILL & GRACE) and Tom (Tony Award-nominee Christian Borle, Legally Blonde: The Musical), a successful songwriting team, begin work on a new musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, a determined producer, Eileen (Academy Award®-winner Anjelica Huston), jumps on board, and so begins the difficult task of casting the silver screen icon. Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty, 9 to 5: The Musical), a tough Broadway veteran determined to leave the chorus line behind, seems like the obvious choice, but a rivalry develops when Karen Cartwright (Katharine McPhee, AMERICAN IDOL), a young girl from Iowa with the dream of making it on Broadway, blows everyone away during her audition. So who will get the part and begin a journey that will change their lives? It's an age-old story, but a star will be born once again.

SMASH also stars Raza Jaffrey (Sex and the City 2) as Karen's boyfriend Dev, and Jaime Cepero (Porgy and Bess) as Tom's eager assistant Ellis. Guest stars this season include Golden Globe®-winner and Academy Award®-nominee Uma Thurman (Kill Bill: Vol. 2), teen heartthrob Joe Jonas (JONAS), and Tony Award®-winner Bernadette Peters (Gypsy).

In the series premiere "Pilot" (Monday, Feb. 6 at 10 p.m. ET on CTV), Julia (Messing) and her husband Frank (Tony Award®-nominee Brian d'Arcy James, Shrek The Musical) recently began the process of adopting a child, but her focus is torn when she decides to write another Broadway hit with her writing partner Tom (Borle). As the audition process for the lead role begins, Eileen's (Huston) husband begins divorce proceedings which could threaten the finances of the show, and the brilliant but womanizing director Derek (Jack Davenport, Pirates of the Caribbean) could derail the entire project if he puts one of the young stars in a compromising position.

An exclusive advance digital screening of the first full episode of SMASH begins Friday, Feb. 3 at 6 a.m. ET and runs until Monday, Feb. 6 at 12 midnight PT. Viewers can enjoy this exclusive screening through CTV.ca; the CTV iPad App; the Bell Mobile TV App; CTV Mobile, currently available on smartphones, superphones and tablets with Bell Mobile TV; Bell Fibe TV On Demand; Rogers On Demand, Shaw On Demand; and continuously through the free preview period to Bell Satellite TV customers on Channel 805 (in HD) and Channel 350 (in SD). For more information on the advance screening, click here.

SMASH.CTV.ca is the online destination for all things SMASH. The site includes video interviews with the series stars, behind-the-scenes videos, episode recaps and photos. New episodes of SMASH will also be available the day following their CTV television broadcast on the CTV Video Player at CTV.ca, on the CTV iPad App, and on CTV Mobile, currently available on smartphones, superphones and tablets with Bell Mobile TV.

The series is the brainchild of executive producer Steven Spielberg. David Marshall Grant (BROTHERS AND SISTERS), Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Academy Award®-winning Chicago, Hairspray), and Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey (UNITED STATES OF TARA, THE BORGIAS), also serve as executive producers. Original songs are written by Tony® and Grammy Award®-winners Marc Shaiman and co-lyricist Scott Wittman, who serve as executive producers as well. SMASH is distributed by NBC Universal Television.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Twitter -
@BellMedia_PR
@CTV_PR
@CTV_Television
Katharine McPhee - @katharinemcphee
Debra Messing - @DebraLMessing
Megan Hilty - @meganhilty
Raza Jaffrey - @RazaJaffrey
Brian d'Arcy James - @briandarcyjames

Facebook:
facebook.com/ctv

About CTV

CTV, Canada's Olympic Network, is also Canada's largest private broadcaster. Featuring a wide range of quality news, sports, information, and entertainment programming, CTV is Canada's most-watched television network and lead broadcaster of the London 2012 Olympic Games. CTV is a division of Bell Media, Canada's premier multimedia company with leading assets in television, radio and digital. Bell Media is owned by BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada's largest communications company. More information about CTV can be found on the network's website at ctv.ca.

SOURCE CTV

For further information:

Christy Sullivan, CTV and CTV Two, 416.384.3624 or christy.sullivan@bellmedia.ca
Allie Page, CTV and CTV Two, 416.384.4596 or allie.page@bellmedia.ca


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