STAGE TO SCREENS: Katharine McPhee and Krysta Rodriguez, On and Off-Screen Friends in NBC's "Smash"

By Michael Gioia
23 Feb 2013

Krysta Rodriguez
Photo by Will Hart/NBC

With both Rodriguez and McPhee's characters involved in the pop-rock musical, a new competition on "Smash" may arise. "There also becomes a little bit of tension between [Ana] and Karen because they're friends and they're both performers," added Rodriguez. "I love that it shows a realistic view of — not being rivals — [but] being friends and also competing against each other and how you maneuver this delicate relationship in that way."

Aside from friendships, the shows — both "Smash" and Hit List — will also see new relationships. The relationship that begins to blossom — from the moment the season premiere aired on Feb. 5 — is the one between Jimmy Collins (Jordan) and Karen Cartwright (McPhee). "I don't think she knows exactly where it's going to go," McPhee told, "and I don't think she knows how she's going to feel for him. A showmance is what they call it, right? … I mean, I had one of those when I was in college!"

As for Ana, she prefers to find love — or lust — outside of the dramatic, and incestuous, theatrical scene. Rodriguez admitted that her character gets "in a little bit of trouble. You'll see me take home a couple [of guys]… I have a thing for musicians, and you'll see that kind of happen."

But, love lives aside, the heat is on in "Smash" as the second season makes way for the most anticipated theatrical event of the year — the Tony Awards. "You'll see the race to the Tonys," said Rodriguez. "I can't say, necessarily, if we are going to the Tonys, who's going to the Tonys — we don't know. They keep all of that under wraps, but there is definitely Tony conversation."

Last season, "Smash" audiences declared themselves as "Team Ivy" or "Team Karen." This year, the competing teams seem to be Bombshell and Hit List.

Read the earlier Playbill Stage to Screens column with "Smash" star Jeremy Jordan.

( staff writer Michael Gioia's work appears in the news, feature and video sections of Follow him on Twitter at @PlaybillMichael.)