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If you missed Will & Grace during its run on NBC and somehow find yourself impervious to the lure of late-night repeats on Lifetime, you might have caught Emmy Award-winning Messing last in USA's Starter Wife. In Smash, her character, Julia, has two main goals in life: bring a new baby into her and hubby Frank's (Brian d'Arcy James) lives and bring the story of Marilyn Monroe to the stage. WARNING: One of those goals might conflict with the other.
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Of the Broadway-famous names featured in the Smash cast, none has had as colorful of a career as Borle, who has appeared in everything from Jesus Christ Superstar to Thoroughly Modern Millie to Spamalot. But it was his role as Emmett in Legally Blonde: The Musical that garnered him the most attention and a Tony Award nomination. And while Smash is not his TV debut (like every New York actor, he's done a bit on Law & Order), it is certainly his biggest role to date. His character, Tom, is the writing partner of Messing's Julia. Oh, and fun fact: He's also an alum of Carnegie Mellon University and graduated the same year as A Gifted Man's Patrick Wilson. But something tells us there won't be a crossover.
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Though the previews for Smash claim otherwise, there's no introduction needed for Katharine McPhee — at least to EW readers. The actress first turned up the volume on American Idol season 5, where she placed second to Taylor Hicks. (Yes, we know. ''Who?'') In her post-Idol years, she's had bit parts on Community and CSI: NY, dyed her hair blonde, and filmed a previous pilot for NBC,The Pink House, which, oddly, was also about chasing dreams. Here's hoping these work out better than those.
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Anglophiles likely know Davenport well from his years on BBC's Coupling (where he starred as hapless Steve Taylor), but more recently — and stateside, for that matter — he appeared as brilliant physicist Lloyd Simcoe on FlashForward. He plays a genius of a different kind on Smash, starring as sought-after director Derek Wills, who has an eye for production — and attractive, desperate actresses.
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Unless you frequent regional theater productions or have a sharp ear for voice recognition (Hark! Yes, it is that guy from the American Eagle commercials!), it?s likely you haven't seen or heard of Cepero before. But that pretty much makes him the perfect person to play Ellis, the green, newbie assistant to Julia's writing partner, Tom.
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Recognize Hilty from somewhere? Take your pick. Broadway frequenters will know her as Glinda from Wicked or Doralee Rhodes from 9 to 5: The Musical. TV fans might remember her popping up on episodes of The Closer, Desperate Housewives, or Melissa & Joey. And the rest of you? Meet Megan Hilty, the girl up for the role of Marilyn against McPhee's Karen. And she's willing to do anything for the part. Anything.
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Reviewing the credits of someone as legendary as Huston would be downright silly — not to mention, this limited space would prove far insufficient. So, instead, let's just say that Huston's latest role as fearless producer Eileen Rand is plenty for this renowned actress to chew on. Between her impending divorce and her musical ambitions, Rand has a lot on her potential drama plate — and just wait until she starts feeding the cast chocolate that turns them into mice. Kidding?we think. (Yes, of everything, we chose a Witches reference — a decision we will defend to the death.)
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We remember Jaffrey, an accomplished stage actor, best from his turn as the friendly butler in Sex and the City 2 — but we won't hold that against him (and we hope you don't hold it against us!). Because when you meet Jaffrey's Dev, the kind-hearted fiancé of Karen (McPhee), we predict you'll quickly fall in love with the character. But while he supports Karen's ambitions unlike anyone else in her life, you might see their dreams (he's in politics) start to clash.
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Brian d'Arcy James
There's certainly nothing ogre-ish about d'Arcy James, but that makes his Tony Award-nominated transformation into Shrek for the stage version of the popular movie even more outstanding. As he prepares to take on his largest television role to date (playing Messing's husband) after nearly 20 years as a stage actor, you can also look for him in the upcoming political drama, Game Change.