This musical drama tells the story of the creation of a Broadway production about the rise and fall of film legend Marilyn Monroe. Vying for the lead role is an inexperienced, incredibly talented Karen, a naive, but determined girl from the Midwest and stage vet Ivy, who will do anything she has to in order to land the role... even sleeping with the director. Behind the scenes are a group of enormously talented, yet flawed producers, song writers and directors struggling to make this show a success... no matter how high the cost is to get there.
Julia Houston (Played by Debra Messing)
A highly successful and revered songwriter needing to get back in the game. Julia was married to Frank until an affair torpedoed her marriage into oblivion. She has a teenage son who happens to ha e the propensity for getting in trouble. Julia's personal life might be in shambles, but she is more determined than ever to make this Marilyn musical work.
Eileen Rand (Played by Anjelica Huston)
A high-profile producer smack in the middle of a nasty divorce. Once Eileen learns about the Marilyn project, she immediately puts up her money to make the dream a reality. In season one, with money running out, she was forced to seek more cash and received it from her bartender/boyfriend's questionable associates.
Karen Cartwright (Played by Katharine McPhee)
A struggling actress and singer from the Midwest, Karen made ends meet by working as a waitress. After auditioning constantly, she tries out for the role of Marilyn Monroe and catches the eye of every single person attached to the project. Sadly, with Ivy being the favorite of a couple of the key players, she initially lost the role to Ivy and was the understudy. When the previews turned out to be a flop, the director took her aside and repackaged the concept of the show with Karen at the helm -- a move that send Ivy on a major downward spiral.
Derek Wills (Played by Jack Davenport)
He may be one of the most brilliant directors on Broadway, but Derek Wills is one of the most arrogant, manipulating, womanizing of them all. However, most importantly, he has his heart set on making this show one of the biggest hits on Broadway. It's his way or the highway and he'll never, ever admit he has made a mistake. Although he wanted Karen in the role of Marilyn, he was overruled, so when the show flopped, he was quick to snatch Karen up and revamp the show. In season one, Derek and Ivy had a torrid affair and while I do think he loves her, his heart clearly belongs to Karen and perhaps one day he'll act on his true feelings.
Ivy Lynn (Played by Megan Hilty)
A Broadway vet, Ivy Lynn is a force to be reckoned with. She never had a leading role, but when Marilyn came along, she knew with her looks and talent that she was a natural for the role. With Karen as her competition, Ivy scratched and clawed her way into the role -- even sleeping with the director to help land it in the end. When the preview failed and she lost the lead to Karen, Ivy went on a bender and made a fool of herself on stage. She also slept with Karen's boyfriend and made sure her rival found out the truth.
Tom Levitt (Played by Christian Borle)
As Julia's creative partner, Tom is responsible for writing the music for their productions. Tom is gay and has had a difficult time finding the right man to share his life with. Once he finally finds that special someone, his life seems to finally be falling into place -- now if only Tom and Julia can get Marilyn off the ground, they may have another huge hit on their hands!