For a Broadway musical, the road to success is not easy. And winning the coveted Tony as Best Musical, which is the ultimate goal, is even more difficult. Such trials and tribulations are shown for a handful of shows, their creative teams and their performers. There is competition amongst the performers for roles, competition amongst the shows not only for box office but also limited investor dollars and that final Tony prize, and competition amongst those ultimately hired in the cast and crew for what they want to see happen in the show, both for the good of the show and their own personal benefit. And sometimes, personal life gets in the way of these professional goals. These problems not only happen for those new or working their ways up the ranks, such as performers Karen Cartwright and Ivy Lynn, and the writing team of Jimmy Collins and Kyle Bishop, but also seasoned veterans, such as the writing team of Tom Levitt and Julia Houston, womanizing director Derek Wills, and producer Eileen Rand.
A Broadway musical, based on the life of Marilyn Monroe, is being written by the successful songwriting duo of Tom and Julia. Julia recently began the process of adopting a child with her husband Frank 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 - who is trying to find fame in the big city against all odds - and stage veteran Ivy Lynn, who's determined to leave the chorus line and finally get her big break. A tenacious producer Eileen discovers the "Marilyn" project and jumps on board with a brilliant director, Derek - whose talent is matched by his cunning and egocentric amorality.
There is more drama behind the scenes than on stage, as the team prepares an ambitious Broadway musical on the life of Marilyn Monroe.
- At the heart of the show are the musical's composer Tom (Christian Borle), who is gay, and the lyricist Julia (Debra Messing), who is somewhat against the idea of a Marilyn Monroe-themed musical. The plot will follow follow an out-of-town tryout of a Broadway musical, and centers around a songwriting team who write a musical about Marilyn Monroe based on an offhanded remark from an assistant. They post a showstopping number on YouTube. When it's a viral hit, a producer (Anjelica Huston) who's looking to recapture success long past decides to produce the musical. There are two choices to play Marilyn - Karen (Katharine McPhee), a talented young newcomer, and Ivy (Megan Hilty), a theater veteran.