Smash is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire - to be a smash. The series centers on the process of creating a Broadway musical based on the life of Marilyn Monroe - written by the successful songwriting duo of Tom (Christian Borle) and Julia (Debra Messing). Julia recently began the process of adopting a child with her husband Frank (Brian d'Arcy James) of many years, but her focus is torn when she has the opportunity to write another Broadway hit. A rivalry soon forms for the lead role between a youthful, inexperienced Midwestern beauty Karen (Katharine McPhee) - who is trying to find fame in the big city against all odds - and stage veteran Ivy Bell (Megan Hilty), who's determined to leave the chorus line and finally get her big break. A tenacious producer, Eileen (Anjelica Huston), discovers the Marilyn project and jumps on board with a brilliant director, Derek (Jack Davenport) - whose talent is matched by his cunning and egocentric amorality. Jaime Cepero stars as Ellis, and Raza Jaffrey stars as Dev.