'Smash' star Katharine McPhee tells See & Be Seen she relates to character

by: Carly Noel Updated:

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PITTSBURGH,None —

On Monday, I talked to Katharine McPhee, the star of NBC’s new musical drama series “Smash.”

McPhee plays Karen Cartwright, a talented but green performer with a Broadway dream.

“You sort of meet her in the midst of frustration with where she is in the business, and she gets an opportunity to plan an iconic role on Broadway,” said McPhee.

Cartwright hopes get the role of Marilyn Monroe in a new Broadway musical.

“I definitely relate to her.  Of course, I was green about six or seven years ago,” said McPhee.

Years ago, McPhee, like Cartwright, was a talented girl with a big dream.  She gained fame on “American Idol.”

“In high school and college, I studied theater and loved musicals.  I dropped out of college after three semesters and went back to Los Angeles, which is my hometown, and got an agent.  I started plugging away, auditioning for different things.  Much like my character, I was a little bit frustrated with where I was in the business  and took the opportunity to go on ‘Idol’ and see if it would open some doors for me, and it definitely did,” said McPhee.

McPhee is enjoying working with her fellow talented cast members, two of whom have Pittsburgh connections.  Christian Borle, who plays Tom, grew up in Pittsburgh and went to Carnegie Mellon University.  Megan Hilty, who plays Ivy, also went to Carnegie Mellon University.

 “I’m so grateful for Megan on the set.  We have so much fun together although our characters don’t like each too much.  I’ve known Christian’s work. I saw him on the Broadway stage.  He’s wonderful in the part.  We’re so lucky to have him,” said McPhee.

“Smash” airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC and WPXI-TV.