Previously on Smash: Ivy was awesome in the first workshop, but that didn't stop Derek from sleeping with Rebecca (to help the show, the manslut said); Karen whined about her little spat with Dev while he skulked around guiltily, having lost Karen's engagement ring during his dirty, dirty cheating sex with Ivy; Ellis had stupid opinions; someone poisoned Rebecca with peanuts; Eileen demanded a new ending to the super depressing musical that is Bombshell; and Rebecca abdicated her role, leaving a vacuum where Marilyn should be. (Although that kind of fits.)
Julia and Tom are still rewriting, 15 minutes before the next preview is supposed to start. They finish the last few lyrics and dash through the crowded lobby to get the pages to Marilyn. But who is Marilyn? She's walking to the stage from her dressing room and we see everyone in the company wishing her luck, but of course we don't know who -- oh fuck it, we all know it's Karen, Karen's the worst, Derek's an idiot, the end, have a nice summer, everyone.
Or we could keep watching. Anyway. Julia and Tom wish her luck and Karen takes her place at center stage, looking out into the blackness as the curtain rises -- and we flash back twelve hours.
Derek, Eileen, Julia, and Tom are squabbling at center stage about how they don't have a Marilyn or a closing song. Julia wants to cancel the night's preview so they can keep working. Tom says the press will keep eviscerating them if they cancel another preview (although the constant stream of bad press [and actors plummeting to the floor of the Foxwoods Theatre] didn't seem to hurt Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark's box office) and Derek bellows, "Enough!"
The dancers are in the lobby, eavesdropping, as is Ellis, wearing his ridiculous red suit that looks like Thom Browne was inspired by Pinocchio. Eileen storms out of the theater, followed by Ellis, who hands her the phone. Michael Riedel, still making everyone's life a living hell. Eileen spins Rebecca's departure for Michael and says they have "a thrilling Marilyn waiting in the wings." Well, they do have one, but she's not going to be the one, you know?
Even Karen doesn't believe she should be Marilyn. She tells Ivy, "They're going to ask you to do it." Ivy demurs, because she doesn't want to jinx this whole Speaking Into Being thing she has going on. Both their phones ring, and Karen goes off to make wet squishy noises at Dev. Ivy moves away from the crowd to talk to Momadette Peters, who asks if the producers have asked Ivy to play Marilyn yet. Ivy reminds her that Karen is the understudy, and Momadette repeats that ridiculous line we keep hearing about how understudies don't get to rehearse the parts until after previews, because that makes one iota of sense at all when you have $7 million invested in a show. Whatever, I'm just so delighted to see Momadette. She reminds me of the days when I had such high hopes for this show, when it excited me.