Monday, September 9, 2019

Current Binge: Submissions Only


I watch a lot of theatre interviews. I learn a whole lot, and usually laugh a bunch. It keeps my mind occupied while doing some mindless task. Anyway, none of this is the point. The point is, that during the course of many of these theatre interviews, a few people have mentioned the web series Submissions Only. It's usually a passing comment about doing the show or loving the show. And though I do love a new theatre obsession, for some reason it took me almost 8 years of this series existing for me to check it out. 

And oh my goodness, where has it been all my life?

Like I said, Submissions Only is a web series created by Andrew Keenan Bolger and Kate Wetherhead. It's based in the world of Broadway theatre, and features cameos by big Broadway stars almost every week. Though its core cast is comprised of big Broadway stars in their own rite. After its premiere in 2010, it became something of an underground sensation in the theatre community. This tiny little project created by and for friends, sort of exploded, and spawned two more seasons after the initial run of 6 episodes.

The show is fantastic, and funny and filled to the brim with all the best people. What's even more fun, is getting the chance to peek behind the curtain at what happens before your favorite stage shows premier. From casting to auditions, to crazy directors and ridiculous creatives, the show covers it all, without ever really seeming bitter or disillusioned by the whole process. 

Don't get me wrong. I was a big Smash fan in the day, but this series premiered before Smash debuted, and seemed to set a better tone than Smash ever did. The stories are drawn from real life experiences of many in the cast and crew, which lends a good deal of believability to the more outrageous storylines. 

Even better, Submissions Only, managed to tell these stories in a creative way, on a shoe string budget. They used their friends to do a lot of the shooting, and chose locations they had easy access to. In one episode, they even use the actual home of Steven Bienskie who plays Steven Farrell in the show. (Side note: If you only watch one episode, make it that one!)

I love the idea of having an vision for something entirely your own, and just making it. It's a testament to shoestring storytelling. Sure it helps to have tons of money and endless resources, but great stories can also be told with very little. The cast and crew of this gem proved this ten times over. 

Though it originally premiered on YouTube, to watch all 3 seasons, with extras, you'll need to download the Stage Network app. For the record, I'm grumpy about downloading yet another streamer too, but the first 7 days are free. And with quick binging (because it's so fabulous, you'll binge for sure!), you can certainly watch all 3 seasons in the seven day timeframe. I did...

And maybe, we'll tip the scales of others who have petitioned for more episodes over the last few years. Let's get on this! 

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