A few words with ... Debra Messing, Natalie Zea and Robert Reich
Q: Since "Smash" is very much an ensemble piece, what's your take on some of the co-stars you have in the series?
And Christian Borle, who plays my right arm as my composer, was Tony-nominated for "Legally Blonde" on Broadway ... and he was Bert in "
Q: Does doing this series stoke any musical inclinations you might have had yourself?
A: Oh, I always wanted to be a triple threat. When I was 3, that's what I wanted, to be in musical theater. This is incredibly titillating for me every single day, coming to the set and being able to sit behind a table as a character who is on the creative side of it, and be able to watch these real Broadway talents sing for hours on end and do all of this very intricate choreography.
It's like I levitate with joy every time. And yes, there is a part of me that says, "I wish I had that voice. I wish I was that talented." But I'm not going to complain. I love what I'm doing, and I'm right in the front row for this.
Q: Court stenographer Winona married, then divorced U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (
A: She needs to figure some stuff out? She's taking control. Winona needs to find a friend. I would love to see Winona interact with somebody other than Raylan or Gary. I've never understood the idea of breaking up for a little while. If I'm going to do that, that's permanent, because it's such a traumatic experience. If this isn't really how this is supposed to go, then let's figure out some other thing.
Q: There's a palpable sense between Winona and Raylan that they are a real couple, not just two people who occasionally call each other "honey." Is that more in the writing or in the performance?
A: Credit does go to the writers for trusting us and allowing us to do this, but a lot of this is Tim (who walks by at this moment on the "Justified" set). We're talking about you! Tim is so specific, and it really comes from that specificity, making sure that it's all at once precise and all at once able to be liquid. So the terrain of the scene is continually changing and natural.
It's something you have to work at but not something you can name. Tim is really aware of what's not spoken. So much can be said without words.
Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich of 'Clinton: American Experience' on PBS
Q: What did you want to accomplish but couldn't?
A: I wanted the Clinton administration to invest more and invest better in our education and our infrastructure so average working Americans would have a better chance in future years to make it, and their kids would have a better chance to do well. We managed some of those investments but not nearly to the extent that we had hoped for in 1992. The deficit hawks and the deficit inherited from Reagan and Bush made that difficult, and once the budget started showing surpluses,
Q: The economy was booming during the Clinton years. Could it have been kept going?
A: The economy was very strong, and I am very proud of our efforts in that respect, but the long-term trajectory of the typical worker's wage didn't really change; it was flat or declining as it had started to flatten in the late 1970s, even though the economy continued to grow and productivity continued to expand without altering the structure of the economy, and without giving the middle class and the poor a much better deal. We didn't change the future course of the economy. We, the Clinton administration, deserve a great deal of credit for a strong economic recovery that created a lot of jobs and boosted wages. Our failing was not to make the structural changes that would alter the long-term path. ... We also should have strengthened labor unions but ran into a buzz saw very time we tried.