Pittsburgh native Christian Borle, Debra Messing talk about 'Smash' premiere

by: Carly Noel Updated:

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PITTSBURGH,None —

NBC’s new musical drama series “Smash” premieres on Monday.  The show celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of Broadway and centers on a desire to create a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.  Click here for more "Smash" information.

Before the premiere, I talked to two of the stars of the show, Debra Messing and Christian Borle.

Broadway star Borle, who has the role of composer Tom Levitt, grew up in the Pittsburgh area.  The Fox Chapel native attended Shady Side Academy and Carnegie Mellon University and told me he has fond memories of the city.   

“I miss it terribly.  I just loved growing up there and going to school there,” said Borle.

Megan Hilty, who plays ensemble performer Ivy, also went to Carnegie Mellon University.

Borle and Hilty are two of several people on the show who have a musical theater background.

“It brings authenticity to the show.  There are so many people who have experience in that world and passion for that world.  It makes it feel genuine in a special way,” said Messing.

Messing plays Julia Houston, a writer who struggles to balance the demands of Broadway with the needs of her family.

 “It’s kind of an upstairs-downstairs version of Broadway musicals.  You see the full spectrum of people who are at the top of the business and the people just moving to New York, breaking in or dreaming big,” said Borle.

Hoping to get a big break is Karen Cartwright, played by former “American Idol” contestant Katharine McPhee.

Also featured in “Smash” is Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston, who plays legendary Broadway producer Eileen Rand.

 “It’s surreal at times.  I have to say sitting next to Angelica Huston at lunch … I’m eating my beautiful piece of fish, and there’s Angelica Huston,” said Borle.

Probably the biggest name of everyone involved with “Smash” is Steven Spielberg.  He’s an executive producer of the show, which was developed from his original idea.

 “It’s something he has been championing for 7 years, trying to get this on the air.  That’s what’s so exciting about it; it’s a passion project,” said Messing.

"Smash" will air Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC and WPXI.

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