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'Smash' star Megan Hilty delivers unexpected CD debut

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press
Friday, March 15, 2013 - 8:33 am

LOS ANGELES — Last week, singer-actress Megan Hilty wrapped her second, and possibly final, season of the TV musical "Smash."

But no time for curtain calls — a day later she made her Carnegie Hall headlining debut to a sold-out house. She spent this week racing around New York, getting the word out of her first solo album, "It Happens All the Time," which was released Tuesday.

"It's been a whirlwind," Hilty said, with a sigh, speaking by phone from what she said was only quiet spot she could find: the lobby of Marriott Marquis hotel.

The Broadway veteran doesn't ease on down the well-worn Broadway-diva CD-debut road, usually leading to a set of classic standards.

"While I love those albums," Hilty said, "I wanted to do something unexpected."

"It Happens All the Time" began as an album comprised solely of contemporary-pop covers "But then Columbia started sending original songs along, and things started to evolve." The result is a collection of wide-ranging genres: modern soul, '70s pop, contemporary alternative.

Talk about marketing nightmares. "I probably am," Hilty said, laughing. "I don't know what to call it either."

And yet the record is thematically consistent.

"I guess it is a breakup album, but not a cry-your-eyes-out kind of album," Hilty said. "That's why we went with 'It Happens All the Time' as the title. People fall in and out of love all the time."

The 31-year-old Hilty said she is in a relationship, though she wouldn't reveal details about her personal life, except to add that she lives in New York and is the proud parent of two Jack Russell terriers.

It wasn't any easier getting Hilty to spill spoilers about "Smash," NBC's both revered or reviled saga of the rocky road for a Broadway-bound musical. More than one TV-ratings analyst has dubbed the show "Crash" as some weeks of the series' second-season viewership have marked new all-time lows.

"The feeling on the set, from day one, was to work as hard as we can, and enjoy each other," Hilty said. "You can't control any of the rest of it. It's just like life."

When last we left her character, actress Ivy Lynn, she was doing a straight play, and her competition for the lead in the Marilyn Monroe musical, "Bombshell," Karen Walker (Katharine McPhee), was heading to Broadway.

"I can tell you this one thing," Hilty said. "Ivy's fate with 'Bombshell' comes all the way down to opening night."