The struggling Smash, which NBC is moving to Saturdays starting April 6, will close out its second (and likely final) season in late May or early June by sending the main characters to the Tony Awards. A trip to Broadway's big night "was part of the pitch that got me the job," says executive producer Josh Safran, who took over as showrunner this season. "It's an event that doesn't necessarily require you to be nominated to be there. People attend, perform and present awards. And there is a song that involves the entire lead cast."
Some of the talent will be up for awards. "I've been around people when they received nominations," Safran says, "so that was something that was important to capture: rewarded and dashed hopes."
These Tonys, shot at Manhattan's Marriott Marquis Hotel, will feature a slew of Broadway stars appearing as themselves: Rosie O'Donnell (Grease), Cheyenne Jackson (Xanadu), Ron Rifkin (Cabaret), Christine Ebersole (Grey Gardens), Lillias White (The Life), Marin Mazzie (Spamalot) and choreographer-director Kathleen Marshall (Anything Goes). "It's a pretty eclectic group," says Safran, who also welcomes back theater legend Bernadette Peters as Ivy's mother.
Despite the unlikelihood of a third Smash season, the finale will lay the groundwork for future storylines. "Not everything is wrapped up," Safran says. "But the episode could also serve as a series finale should it need to."