What does a Broadway producer do when her show is in trouble? Apparently you bark, “Get me Doug Hughes.” At least that’s what actor Anjelica Huston’s character, Eileen, did on this week’s episode of Smash, the new NBC series about the backstage drama of a new musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe.
Doug was associate artistic director at the Seattle Repertory Theatre from 1984 to 1996, when he departed for New York. Since heading east he has established himself as a major director in New York, as did his boss at Seattle Rep, Dan Sullivan.
Doug’s work has included directing the premier production of Theresa Rebeck’s play Mauritius on Broadway in 2006. Rebeck, who just happens now to be the head writer for Smash, beckoned to her former director Hughes to be in this week’s show.
The scene in Smash: producer Eileen, fed up with her director Derek, wants to know if Doug might be interested in coming aboard the project as Derek’s replacement. Of course Derek knows nothing – yet – about Eileen considering firing him. Huddled over dinner in a swanky restaurant, Eileen meets with Doug (who is bearing a little more paunch and a little less hair than in his Seattle Rep years). At just that moment who should walk into the restaurant and interrupt this clandestine conversation? None other than snarky New York Post Broadway columnist Michael Riedel, gossip antennae fully extended. Reidel also plays himself in this scene.
Doug and Reidel are on screen for less than a minute, but it is a fun minute and was integrated well with the episode’s melodramatic plot. (Smash has been taking melodrama to new heights for a primetime TV series.)
It’s been a treat to see Dan Sullivan and Doug Hughes achieve the success they have since moving to New York. And it was a tickle to see Doug pop up on the small screen this week. Enjoy your moment. Next week Uma Thurman’s appearance as guest star will nudge your TV moment to misty memory land.