Over the past few years, Broadway has been featured in non-theatrical media, from NBC’s “Smash” to the movie adaptation of “Les Misérables,” and more recently “Submissions Only,” a webseries created by Broadway stars Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead. The series launched its third season on March 3.
Keenan-Bolger and Wetherhead met working on a production in 2010, during which they began shooting backstage videos together. Wetherhead’s husband noticed the duo’s collaborative abilities and suggested that they elaborate on the project. When Wetherhead mentioned this suggestion to Keenan-Bolger, he had already been thinking the same thing, and they began writing the first “Submissions Only” episode the next day.
With only their pilot script, a video camera and a cast of a few friends, the two actors underestimated the amount of time and effort needed to create their series at first, particularly in regards to editing.
“It has all been trial by fire,” Keenan-Bolger said. “Over time we learned from our mistakes.”
Wetherhead said it was easy to run a tight ship with her co-creator, though.
“Andrew and I are a two-man band,” Wetherhead said. “We share a brain and both have a clear vision of the final product and don’t get too precious about stuff [that needs to be cut].”
After BroadwayWorld.com picked up the second season of “Submissions Only,” its budget expanded, which allowed the co-creators to expand their cast, crew and equipment.
“[Having a sponsor] helps the show gain legitimacy,” Wetherhead said. “It increases the show’s value, which meant that we had to step up our game.”
To some fans, the Broadway audition sequences portrayed in “Submissions Only” seem outrageous and silly, but Keenan-Bolger said most of these sequences were “frighteningly similar” to and mostly based on his and Wetherhead’s true experiences.
The actors have had grueling and uncomfortable experiences with auditions but are not bitter. Instead, they put a comedic spin on the awkward, embarrassing situations.
In the upcoming season, fans can expect an array of guest stars such as Audra McDonald, Judith Light, Bobby Cannavale, Kelli O’Hara, Linda Lavin, Joel Grey, Joanna Gleason, Brian d’Arcy James and many more.
Both Keenan-Bolger and Wetherhead agreed that they are most excited to look back on the first season and see how much the series has changed.
“It’s really inspiring to see how far we have come,” Keenan-Bolger said. “It really shows that if you stick to something, you will succeed.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, March 4 print edition. Joseph Myers is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]