Even series leads have to audition.
Katharine McPhee remembers all too well her audition for the NBC backstage drama Smash. “I sang something from Thoroughly Modern Millie for my audition,” she said in an interview with PaperMag. “They flew me to New York and I was starting to get sick. I could barely sing and my voice was cracking. They were like, ‘It’s okay, we know you can sing.’ But I tried to get through it. I tried to sing ‘I Don’t know How to Love Him’ from Jesus Christ Superstar too. It didn’t come out so well, but it was more about the scene work so I just had to wait for Steven Spielberg to watch the tape. And a few days later, I got the part!”
As an actress who grew up performing in musical theater productions (and appearing on American Idol), McPhee has enjoyed working with Broadway legend Bernadette Peters—who will also show up on the second season of the show.
“Yes, she’s back! I grew up listening to all of the Sondheim soundtracks and my mom was a big Sondheim freak,” McPhee said. “So, Bernadette is the most amazing person to work with. The people who have as much success as actresses like Bernadette usually have the least amount of drama and diva-ness. The ones that have been around for ages—there’s a reason why they’re as successful as they are.”
Smash will be back on the air on NBC next year.