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Katharine McPhee Makes a Star Turn in Smash

12/16/2011 at 08:00 AM EST

Ever wonder what goes on backstage at a Broadway show? Well, NBC's new drama Smash is pulling back the curtain.

The series stars Katharine McPhee as a struggling actress desperate for her chance in the spotlight.

"I could just so relate to this girl," says the American Idol alum, 27. "All the doors shut in my face. She's just like, 'Let me show you what I can do.' "

In the storyline, McPhee's character is up for the role of Marilyn Monroe in a new musical. Her competition? Megan Hilty, who says her own character will "do just about anything to get what she wants."

While the two actresses battle for center stage, there's plenty of drama going on backstage, as well.

"The story is told through the eyes of the writers, producer, director, choreographer," says Will & Grace favorite Debra Messing, who plays a Broadway songwriter.

Smash, which also stars Anjelica Huston and Jack Davenport, premieres Monday, Feb. 6, at 10 p.m. ET on NBC.

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