Submissions Only is a comedic web series about casting and auditioning in New York City. The first season of 24 minute episodes premiered January of this year and ran for 6 episodes on YouTube. This might not seem like much, but the show was getting over 10,000 views per episode. That’s huge for an Internet series. It was big enough that BroadwayWorld.com, one of the larger news/messageboard hybrid sites for professional theater, will be hosting the series for Season 2.
Created, written, and directed by Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead, Submissions Only is a clever look at a side of live theater that isn’t always looked at. There have been behind the scenes comedies before, but I can’t think of another project where the focus is casting.
If you’ve never sat a casting table or been to an audition, this could be a pretty eye-opening experience. Submissions Only may exaggerate the familiar types you’ll see in real life, but it is hitting at some pretty accurate things in its comedy. You see actors making horrible choices, directors who don’t have an authentic bone in their bodies, and casting directors who clearly want to stand up and scream at everyone but can’t for the sake of their careers. My favorite recurring gag is the scarily accurate fake enthusiasm at recognizing someone you know at an audition. It’s the kind of thing you hope against all hope is an invention of the show. It’s not. It’s just as ridiculous in real life.
Think of Submissions Only as the kind of comedy show Glee could (and should) be, only with less music. It’s equal parts dry wit and over the top comedy. The driving influence is a loyalty to the subject matter. It’s consistently mocking everyone and everything with equal measure. It’s the kind of show worth checking out if you’re bored and need to kill some time.
Did this (NSFW) thing just happen? Did Jonathan Ian Mathers really just jump back 10 years in time with his web cartoon Neurotically Yours to give long-suffering poet Germaine a second chance? Yes. Yes it did.
Are you still clicking this at work? It’s totally NSFW. Whole lot of cursing going on.
A few months ago, I wrote about how much I appreciated this Germaine identity arc. I got what Mathers was going for in an extreme representation of the artistic struggle. I also knew that I was in the minority judging by Mathers’ decision to speed up the process and bring everything to a close by Fall. This is that close.
Show People is Broadway.com’s new online talk show where Editor-in-Chief Paul Wontorek interviews Broadway stars. The latest episode is the best so far because the guest is Harvey Fierstein.
Harvey Fierstein is the multi-faceted Tony Award-winning playwright and actor behind Torch Song Trilogy and La Cage aux Folles among much little or uncredited work. There really is no one else like him working consistently in the world of Broadway. From the gravely base to the sharp wit, Fierstein is a force to be reckoned with. He is not intimidating or stuck up in any way. He’s just a smart, funny man with endless creative ability.
What is Side by Side by Susan Blackwell? It is an entertaining online talk show at Broadway.com wherein Susan Blackwell–star of the wonderful, sadly closed, but not forgotten, Broadway musical [Title of Show]–interviews Broadway stars in intimate locations, like a corner table at Hooters or the upper deck of a Times Square tourist bus. The joy comes from how off-beat the questions are and how willing Susan Blackwell is to invade their personal space (for fun, not malevolence) to hilariously awkward effect. Some of the stars really embrace, others are game but end up with a hundred yard stare as Susan licks them on the cheek. Yes, as in, her tongue to their cheek.
Susan has a great presence in person and on film and was the perfect choice to become a correspondent and host on Broadway.com. For fans of musicals, this show is a treasure chest of references to shows, well-known and obscure alike.
I have a feeling, even if you don't know who half these people are (though you might recognize some for playing a doctor, lawyer, hooker, drug addict, or murder victim on a Law & Order or CSI, as most working NYC actors are practically required to), you'll still find the show entertaining. It's almost like rediscovering reality TV for the first time. Your apprehensive about what is going to happen and why you should care about total strangers, then get sucked into how ridiculous the scenario is. Just bask in the beauty of an online talk show where a conversation can include diversions on "handj's" and Equus or breast pumps and Cher.
There are only two episodes so far, but with the amount of stars in the opening credits (including "Hey, wasn't that chick on CSI?" and "That's the music director from that Legally Blonde reality show, right?"), I don't see this going away anytime soon. I've embedded the first episode after the jump to give you a taste of how this works Hmmm…there's embed code that I've inserted properly, but the video says it's unavailable. Episode 1: Sutton Foster, Jonathan Groff & Laura Benanti. You should watch the second episode to see the full potential.