Bettina's Take: ‘Smash’ Cinema Society Screening

Most everyone has heard about the new show Smash. There has been a pull-out all the stops marketing campaign. The question is, is it worth all the hype?

The answer, judging by the first episode, is a resounding yes. The show is compelling, funny, dramatic, and entertaining. Most of all, the cast is hugely talented and a joy to watch, whether performing the grueling dance numbers or weaving the story lines together.

The premiere, presented by NBC, Volvo and The Cinema Society, was held at the Metropolitan Museum, and much of the ensemble, including Debra Messing, Anjelica Huston, Katherine McPhee (in Donna Karan), Brian d'Arcy James, and Jack Davenport, joined notables such as Bebe Neuwirth (in Dolce & Gabbana), Sarah Jessica Parker (in Tory Burch) and Matthew Broderick, and Lauren Hutton, to watch the engaging tale of the creation of a new musical about Marilyn. Central to the story is the competition between two women, played by Katherine McPhee and Megan Hilty, for the starring role.

"The dance portions of the show are very difficult," said cast member Savannah Wise, wearing an off white Supertrash dress. "The day of the shoot of any musical number--that's a long day. They make us do them in their entirety, a fully produced musical number. It's a blast--but you go home broken."

"We've been working really long hours and the schedule's tough, so we try to keep each other laughing and happy," added cast member Phillip Spaeth.

Huston, chic as ever in a Tom Ford suit and Lorraine Schwartz jewelry, lets off steam by playing scrabble with co-star Jack Davenport.

"Jack Davenport is so cute. He makes me laugh on a daily basis. Beating him at scrabble has been the most fun. We have an ongoing game, and we get to play from time to time," Huston told FashionEtc.

The theater was packed. The audience cheered and laughed at insider industry jokes, marveled at the talent of the cast, and speculated about who will win the role of Marilyn. From what I understood, even the writers don't know just yet.

The after party was as sensational as the show. The magnificent Temple of Dendur was beautifully lit and transformed into a lounge. A band played, champagne flowed, and Uma Thurman mingled with Bernadette Peters and Julie Taymor. Four opulent buffets, filled with everything from lobster to lamb chops, were served, and hors-d'oeuvres were passed for those too enraptured in conversation to take a break.

Watching at home will never be as much fun as this, it's true. But it won't deter me from following the show and finding out who wins. Rumor has it that if the TV series is a success, they will take the Marilyn show to Broadway. Stay tuned...

Photo: Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee, Anjelica Huston and Debra Messing at the screening