From ‘Smash’ to ‘Flash’

The Flash, one of the big hits from the fall season, is hiding a secret. If there is ever a musical showdown with other TV programs, they have an all-star team.

The heavyweight musical member of the group is Jesse L. Martin. You might not be aware of his singing credentials since Martin has been playing TV detectives, first on Law & Order and now on The Flash. But he showed a little of that skill with his guest-starring role on Smash.

His breakthrough came in Jonathan Larson’s Broadway musical Rent in 2005. He reprised the role in the feature film version of the musical.

As for his current cast, Martin says: “We want to start a Flash band. Everyone can play an instrument and sing.”

Series star Grant Gustin has an extensive musical theater background.

But so far there have been no plans announced for an all-singing episode of The Flash, which returns from its holiday hiatus Jan. 20. That’s OK with Martin, who who wants to focus on the detective part of his current job.

He played a detective on Law & Order but the CW series is different. All he had to worry about in the NBC drama was the usual batch of murderers, rapist, thieves and thugs. The Flash deals with criminals who can clone themselves, manipulate the weather and create deadly mists.

Law & Order was so very interesting to me because what I got to do was explore New York along with getting to work with some of the best actors New York City had to offer,” Martin says. “I did that for 10 years so as far as I am concerned that’s done. Now, here I am in a whole new world, and I get to do things I’ve never done before.”

One of those things is to act in front of a green screen. This is a way that special effects — such as The Flash being able to run 600 mph — can be created.

It’s a long way from the nightly shows on Broadway. Martin didn’t think of himself back then as only a stage performer. The one thing that was on his mind was just landing a job that would earn him is Actors’ Equity card.

“Once I got that, I thought I had totally made it,” Martin says. “Now, I have more than I ever imagined.”

He can imagine another return to Broadway. But that will have to be worked in with The Flash, which is off and running at top speed.

Rick Bentley

The Fresno Bee