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'Smash' Is Over: Marc Shaiman On What Went Wrong, Song Choices

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SMASH OVER
Now that "Smash" is over, Marc Shaiman reveals behind-the-scenes issues. | NBC
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"Smash" is over and now Marc Shaiman, one of the writers behind some of the show's signature hit songs, is speaking out.

Shaiman summed up what went wrong with "Smash": "A lot of smart, talented (and in some cases, smart AND talented!) people were brought together to create a television show," Shaiman wrote. "Probably too many people. Yes, 'too many chefs' is the most succinct way to say what went wrong. But there was not a single soul working on the show who didn't want it to be great. Everyone just had a different idea of what that was."

The tale of "Smash" has been told many times before. A pet project of Bob Greenblatt, NBC's chairman, the show was met with favorable reviews by critics at first. After solid numbers, the show seemed to go off track, with behind-the-scenes drama reported and "hate-watching" became the trend. The show was renewed for Season 2 with changes: creator Theresa Rebeck was dismissed, some of the cast members departed and the show began chronicling the genesis of a new musical with a younger cast.

Shaiman said there was a lot of micro-managing behind the scenes of the series that led to changing of songs. "I suppose the greatest frustration Scott & I felt were how the actual moments in Marilyn Monroe's life that led us to write our songs were almost never explained in the episodes, which was a shame for it would have enriched the storylines of Tom & Julia and made many of our choices clearer and maybe made our songs more meaningful," he wrote.

Shaiman detailed nearly every song he and Scott Wittman worked on, from "Let Me Be Your Star" -- the version seen and heard as the show's anthem was not the original, in fact it was a rewrite Greenblatt asked for -- to the last song of the series "Big Finish." The duo was nominated for an Emmy and Grammy for their work on "Smash."

"So, like childbirth, hopefully Scott & I will forget the pain and will only remember hearing and seeing our songs being brought to life by some of the greatest actors and actresses we could ever hope to work with," he wrote. "Which brings up one final thing I never understood, which is ... where were the prima donna costume designers, nerdy orchestrators, crazy professor set designers? Where were the things, so absent on 'Smash,' that are the things you most get when you walk into a rehearsal of a musical: laughter and joy? Damn, everyone on the show was so miserable!"

Click here to read Shaiman's notes on his "Smash" songs.

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