ML - Vegas Magazine

2012 - Issue 7 - November

Vegas Magazine - Niche Media - There is a place beyond the crowds, beyond the ropes, where dreams are realized and success is celebrated. You are invited.

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star,'" she says. She returned to Los Angeles, a city she'd fallen in love with during an extended run of Wicked, to take stock of her life. "I was like, I may never work again, but I'm happy there." "It was hard for a good two years," Hilty says. On CSI she played the crazy manager of Choozy's Chicken. On The Closer she was a chesty receptionist. But these were guest spots, and the jobs were few and far between. She rarely worked, she says, "and I went in for everything." Smash was just another audition; a friend videotaped her singing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," and Hilty assumed she'd never hear another word about it. Imagine her surprise when her manager, frantic, called screaming: "How tall are you? Steven Spielberg"—one of the show's producers—"likes to know how tall people are before he watches their tapes." Apparently, he liked what he saw. "I was always playing the crazy bitch or the whore," she says, with a sly smile. "Now I get to do both." Debra Messing plays one of the writers of Bombshell, the show-within-a-show on Smash, which gives her a front-row seat (literally) to Hilty's extreme profes- sionalism. "When Christian Borle and behind our I were sitting table watching Megan sing 'Let Me Be Your Star'—the climax of the entire pilot—I realized I was in the presence of genius," she says. "Everything about her embodiment of Marilyn in that moment was transportive. I felt like I was watching a master class in musical theater storytelling." Borle remembers the moment clearly, too—but for a different reason. "When we were all done at the end of the day, Megan would have to go record demos and go to dance rehearsals," he says. "Debra and I would sit behind the desk, and there'd be this dawning awareness that Megan had done all of this work and was now presenting it to us without even breaking a sweat." Smash was an out-of-the-box hit and a sudden staple on New York City's streets, shooting all over town. "Strangers have no problem stopping me and saying exactly what they think of the show and the character," Hilty says. This seems like as good a time as any to ask some of our own burning questions. On charges that the show is unrealistic, she laughs: "It's a TV show! I'm sure doctors don't watch Private Practice and say, That would crazy over some stupid body image thing." On, ahem, talk that she and guest star Nick Jonas took their affair off-screen, she insists it's not true. "A lot of people were telling me I was way too old for him. I'm like, I know! The funny thing is, the rumors just kept going. I got a lot of hate-tweets for that. He has a very devoted fan base." interview, Borle called the bloodbath nothing short of a "reboot.") Never one to dwell on unrest, Hilty hosted a dinner party (sponsored by Nicolas Feuillatte Champagne) for her new showbiz family just days before filming began on season two. "We had all these new people," she says. "We had endless flutes of Champagne. People got chatty real quick." A "WATCHING MEGAN SING 'LET ME BE YOUR STAR'—THE PILOT'S CLIMAX— I REALIZED I WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF A GENIUS."—DEBRA MESSING Smash is due back on TV midseason, and while spoil- ers are hard to come by, here's what Hilty can share: Season two picks up a few weeks after the finale, and Ivy is recovering from that overdose. Bombshell, the musical about Marilyn Monroe, retreats to the background as Ivy is cast in a classical piece; meanwhile her rival, Karen Cartwright (played by American Idol alum Katharine McPhee), is working on a contemporary new musical. "Ivy is getting her life back together," Hilty says. "She's saying, That was all crazy. Let me work on my personal and professional lives and try this in a different way." Sean Hayes (of Will & Grace fame) guest stars, as does Oscar and Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson. With that, Hilty's car shows up, and a look of unease about her hectic schedule flashes across her face—though only for a second. She's due on set at Smash at 4 AM. The following day, she's supposed to sing "America the Beautiful" at the US Open. It's a glamorous life, despite the absurdly long work hours. When asked about her first splurge since Smash took off, she doesn't talk about clothing or expensive jewelry, but of finally renting a never happen in an operating room." On Internet chatter about her famous Manhattan apartment with a washer and dryer. curves: "I went into this thinking, I'm not going to be one of those girls that turns into a waif because they're on TV. I'm a real person. I'm not gonna go "That's all I need in this world," she says with a laugh. That, and the occasional trip to Vegas. V VEGASMAGAZINE.COM 85 t times, Smash's off-screen drama threatened to eclipse its own story lines, and season one ended with a major shake- up: Four actors were let go. Even Theresa Rebeck, the show's creator and playwright, departed, and Josh Safran, a veteran of Gossip Girl, was brought in to right the ship. (In a separate

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