Ellen: Katharine McPhee Smash, NYC Subway & Africa Charity Work

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Ellen: Katharine McPhee Smash Season 2

A few years ago, she was gaining attention for her voice on American Idol. Now Katharine McPhee is making a splash as an actress in her starring role on the NBC drama Smash.

She visited with Ellen DeGeneres to talk about taking on her latest role. Katharine McPhee said she has a lot of fun singing and dancing on Smash, which was recently renewed for a second season.

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Ellen: Katharine McPhee Smash Rehearsals

Ellen: Katharine McPhee Smash Season 2

Katharine McPhee stars in NBC's Smash, which is returning for a second season in fall 2012. (Image Credit: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com)

Ellen said it’s hard enough to star in a TV drama, but Smash follows the behind the scenes story of a Broadway musical. That means that the cast spends a lot of extra time working out all the song and dance routines, like Glee.

“It’s pretty intense. …The rehearsals were really intense in the beginning,” Katharine admitted. “And then as the season went on, we had less and less time to rehearse.”

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She admitted that they’d squeeze in rehearsal time whenever they could, and she admitted to practicing her moves while waiting in line at the movies.

Katharine McPhee: LA Vs NYC

As an LA native, she also had to adjust to uprooting her life and moving to New York City.

“It took me about six months, and now I’m just in love with being there,” she said. “Now I can’t wait to go back.”

But it wasn’t always easy. Katharine told Ellen it was hard adjusting to the routine of life in New York. She tried to get the hang of the subway, but she got confused and ended up going the wrong direction to get to a wardrobe fitting in Brooklyn.

“I went downtown, realized I was going the wrong way,” she said, recalling that she asked a transit employee for directions. But she found that he was rude and mean, and she couldn’t hear him through the glass. “He was really aggressive,” she said, admitting that she gave up and splurged on a cab.

Ellen admitted that she cried during her first trip to New York, thanks to a misunderstanding with a mean cabbie; Katharine said she cried on the phone to her husband.

“The cabdriver who picked me up was actually really sweet, because he saw me in tears,” Katharine said, despite reporting that some cabbies don’t enjoy making the trek to Brooklyn. “Since then, I have been on very few subway rides.”

Katharine McPhee Africa Charity Work

Recently, Katharine McPhee and her husband went to the country of Burkina Faso in Africa, where they helped to build a preschool. Katharine said she was inspired by Ellen’s charitable call during Idol Gives Back a few years ago.

Katharine and her husband worked with the charity Malaria No More, traveling to Africa after she finished production on season 1 of Smash. She invited Ellen to go back to Africa with her next summer.

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