Segue into Veronica Moore's show, Beautiful. She's played by Jennifer Hudson and is singing in a stage set of a recording studio. The number, "Mama Makes Three," is big and swingy and belty -- basically right in Hudson's wheelhouse. In the audience, Derek and Karen keep giving each other little sidelong smiles as Veronica just tears it up.
Backstage, Derek introduces Karen to Ronnie, who ducks away to get dressed. He asks Ronnie if she's ready for her last few performances. Karen snoops around all of the things taped to the mirror: a magazine cover of the woman Ronnie's playing in Beautiful, a photo of her with President Obama. Derek wants to do a revival of The Wiz with Ronnie, but she's not particularly interested in another good-girl role. He says as long as she keeps winning Tonys, why not? Karen gushes about her first Tony acceptance speech. Derek interrupts, swigging lavishly from Ronnie's decanter of whiskey, and asks her to give Karen advice on standing right at the threshold of major stardom. Ronnie says she should protect her work and stay focused, because someone is always waiting in the wings. It's very Cristal Connors in the hospital talking to Nomi Malone, except Karen hasn't thrown Ronnie down a flight of stairs. Yet.
As Ronnie heads out the stage door, to endless camera flashes and people clamoring for her, she says to Karen, "Get ready. This is going to be you in six months." God, I hope not.
Down the block, Tom and Julia are standing across the street from the theater where Heaven and Earth is still playing. Tom says sure, their last show was fluff, but it's been running for two years and Bombshell is the one that will get them to the next level. He checks with Julia to make sure she knows they still have a lot of work to do, and she does. She gets a text and says she has to go, because she promised Shrek she'd be there when he got home from saving Princess Fiona from Lord Farquaad or whatever boring thing he was actually doing, and Tom says he's glad they're working things out. "We're trying," Julia says. Great. As long as you're doing it off-screen.