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NBC’s Smash enlists another Broadway friend Monday when Nick Jonas guest stars as Lyle, a confident young star that Eileen turns to for financial help in mounting the Marilyn production.
The actor, who’s currently appearing in Broadway inHow to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, tells The Hollywood Reporter that it was while he was prepping for the role with Craig Zadan and Neil Meron — executive producers on Smash — that the duo first mentioned they were shaping a role he’d be a fit for. Coming to the drama about the staging of a Broadway musical about also reunited Jonas with Hairspray duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, with whom he also worked on Hairspray.
THR caught up with Jonas to discuss how his Smash experience compared to Broadway, how his character, Lyle, will impact the production as well as if he’d be open to visiting Fox’s musical dramedy, Glee.
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The Hollywood Reporter: As a Broadway veteran, how does the show compare to what you’ve actually experienced?
Nick Jonas: It’s so real the way that this whole thing works with the Broadway world. As a viewer, that’s what I’ve connected with about it. I know people that aren’t as familiar with musical theater and wouldn’t consider themselves a musical theater fan and it still speaks to them because it’s just an interesting journey to watch. I’ve had a thrill being a part of it and working on it.
THR: How did you connect with the show for this guest spot?
Jonas: Craig and Neil also are producers on How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying so when we first started the discussion last year about me being in How to Succeed they also brought up that there was this TV show that they were working on and that there was a role that they were in the process of developing for a young guy — a kind of precocious, confident character — and they threw my name into the mix and it stuck.
THR: You also previously worked with Smash EPs Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman when you played Hairspray‘s Link as well as on How to Succeed. What was it like working with everyone again?
Jonas: It was great to work with all of them. I got to spend some time Marc and Scott and we did the Hairspray thing together, which was great. I was part of the original song that they wrote for this episode, “I Never Met a Wolf Who Didn’t Love to Howl,” which was really fun to be part of. It was fun to reconnect with them and the whole creative team.
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THR: In terms of the song, did you have a hand in creating it?
Jonas: They had their team in place for the show for all the arrangements, and, for the music side, I just gave my input as it was needed. They have an amazing team.
THR: How will Lyle’s arrival help the Marilyn production? Could he return later down the line when/if he becomes financially involved?
Jonas: His involvement is strictly on the financial level. Lyle’s in this one episode and maybe he’ll come back in the future and be involved in another episode. You definitely could see Lyle pop up. I think that there has been talk about it, but I haven’t really heard an official word yet. Hopefully we’ll hear something soon. If they do have me back it really provides an opportunity for him to get deeper into it and kind of dig in and get more involved.
THR: If we see him come back could he propose a problem for the production?
Jonas: I don’t know what to expect if Lyle returns. I think that the creative team for this show is brilliant and will probably come up with a good story line and it would have to be for him to return so we’ll see what happens. I think that it would be fun to see Lyle cause a little bit of trouble.
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THR: Eileen approaches Lyle for some financial assistance for the production, and considering her history with throwing drinks in people’s faces, were you worried that might happen to your character?
Jonas: Lyle’s relationship with Eileen is a good one. She and I go back a long time so it was good. I thought I was safe (laughs).
THR: Smash has often been referred to as Glee for adults. Have you been approached for Glee? Would you be interested in doing it?
Jonas: It’s definitely something I would be interested in doing. I have not been approached about it and I’m always up for it. If they asked me to be a part of it I’d love to but right now I’m happy doing Smash.It’s a really smart show and one that I was really blessed to be a part of.
THR: Beyond Smash and Broadway, what’s next for you?
Jonas: The next thing up is writing and recording with my brothers. We haven’t released a record in almost three years and we’ll be looking forward to getting back to the studio and creating more music after doing all our own things for a while.
THR: Would there be a musical you would love to adapt for the big screen?
Jonas: Definitely. I think that I’m always looking for projects that I can get involved with from the beginning stages and as a music person myself something that can involve music is always exciting for me, but it’s just a matter of what comes. I’m excited to have an opportunity to sift through different things in my career and find what I’m passionate about and go after those projects.
Jonas’ Smash episode airs Monday at 10 p.m. on NBC. Watch a promo below.
Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit
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