Review | Smash

Credit: Mark Seliger/NBC

Air Date: Monday 2/6

Us Rating: ****

Who hasn't fantasized about making it big on Broadway? The power of that near-universal dream only partly explains the irresistable pull of this tuneful drama, in which a group of theater types are united by one mission: Get a musical about Marilyn Monroe off the ground and onto the Great White Way. Smash makes familiar characters fresh again. There are the snappy writers (Debra Messing, charmingly savvy, and Christian Borle), the arrogant director (Jack Davenport), the big-thinking producer (the great Anjelica Huston) and finally, the rival actresses.

In fact, each of Smash's would-be Marilyns -- doe-eyed Karen (American Idol alum Katharine McPhee) and the palpably hungry Ivy (Megan Hilty) -- is a star. In show-within-a-show fashion, they dazzle in original musical numbers that feel bold and cinematic, not stagy like some of the routines on Glee. Who will win that plum part? Will the show soar or fizzle? Smash weaves all of its burning questions, players' plights and wowza showstoppers with wit and excitement. Break a leg, gang! (NBC, 10 p.m.)