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Christian Borle in ‘Some Like It Hot’ proves the TV show ‘Smash’ was a cultural reset

April 21, 2022 by Sophie Thomas
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Christian Borle
Christian Borle in Smash. Creator: Will Hart | Credit: Will Hart/NBC

Growing up in England, making it big on Broadway — or even visiting Broadway — was a pipe dream. Whether it was walking down the world-famous streets, catching the latest shows, or just fangirling over the hottest (however you interpret hottest, it fits) actors around, Broadway seemed like a make-believe world. This was before the days of dozens of social media fan accounts on Instagram and Twitter. Now, it’s easier to access Broadway shows by following the right accounts (including TodayTix). But then, Broadway seemed mystical. So if a TV show mentioned Broadway, I was hooked.

Enter Smash. A decade since the first episode premiered, Smash songs remain on my “On Repeat” Spotify playlists. Side note: “They Just Keep Moving the Line” is the best female solo ballad of our time, but that’s for another day. 

Smash introduced me to new Broadway actors — okay, maybe not new in the Broadway world, but new for me at the time. I watched Megan Hilty and Katharine McPhee play Ivy Lynn and Karen Cartwright as they battled it out to play Marilyn Monroe in the new (fictional) bio-musical Bombshell. I was stunned by Derek Wills’s (played by Jack Davenport) conniving ways to get Bombshell on stage. And who could forget Debra Messing and Christian Borle playing Bombshell‘s writers, Julia Houston and Tom Levitt? Smash really said “Broadway rights” on TV, and I was overjoyed.

Almost a decade later, and Smash is taking over New York theatre. Debra Messing is currently starring in Birthday Candles, and Christian Borle plays the Dentist in Little Shop of Horrors. But in a few months time, the Smash universe will eke closer into the real world as Christian Borle as Joe/Josephine in Some Like It Hot.

The original 1959 film Some Like It Hot famously starred Marilyn Monroe. Years later, and Christian Borle is leading the musical adaptation of a Marilyn Monroe-adjacent musical? It’s a match made in heaven. 

The similarities don’t end there. The Some Like It Hot musical features original music by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, who famously wrote Smash original songs including “Big Finish,” “Let Me Be Your Star” and “Second Hand White Baby Grand.” Arguably, one of the funniest Smash songs is “Don’t Say Yes Until I’ve Finished Talking,” an all-male number which saw the company sing about how annoying Marilyn Monroe was. Christian Borle leads the musical number with charm and flair, supported by an ensemble including Sam Strickland (played by Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr.). Don’t believe us? Watch this video

The Smash/Some Like It Hot crossover grows with even more members in the creative team. Casey Nicholaw will direct and choreograph Some Like It Hot on Broadway. He previously directed a Smash episode which featured a reprise of the baseball-themed song “The National Pastime.” Smash isn’t the baseball play Take Me Out, but we believe that theatre should be everyone’s favorite pastime. Here’s the shows in New York you can see now.

Look, we know that Some Like It Hot isn’t Smash on stage. Some Like It Hot follows two jazz musicians in 1920s Chicago as they disguise themselves to run from the mob. Meanwhile, Smash is a show which follows the development of Bombshell, an autobiographical show which details Marilyn Monroe’s life on stage. Nevertheless, these similarities have us excited for a world where Smash can continue to take over Broadway and the world.

There’s talk of a Bombshell musical coming to Broadway. Maybe it’ll happen, but we can’t get excited just yet. And look, if the original Smash cast reprise their TV performances on stage, it would be a theatrical cultural reset. But for now, Christian Borle in Some Like It Hot, plus the musical’s creative team, is proof the Marilyn Monroe story works on stage.

Christian Borle will star in Some Like It Hot at the Shubert Theatre in fall 2022. The Some Like It Hot cast also includes J. Harrison Ghee, Adrianna Hicks, Kevin Del Aguila and NaTasha Yvette Williams.