There’s something about a Broadway musical that always puts a smile on my face. There was definitely a time in my life when I knew all the words, and all the dance moves to Grease. Maybe it’s just reassuring to know that there’s people out there singing and dancing in the midst of the what the media keeps telling us in the next Great Depression. Regardless, it has been cool to watch Broadway join the web television party. Check out our stories on Legally Brown, and Battery’s Down.
So far, Broadway web show creators have also been pretty willing to poke fun at themselves. The Manhattan Boys is no exception. Manhattan Boy leads Kevin Yee and Charles Hagerty got cast in a traveling show of Wicked, and wanted to chronicle the journey. Yee came up with the idea of the web show, and followed the lives of two Manhattan actors as they travel small town USA with the educational musical A Mother’s Choice.
Tubefilter caught up with Manhattan Boys creator Kevin Yee about life on the road, and making a web series on the run—while touring!
Tubefilter: So how was the show conceived?
Kevin Yee: I’ve been making silly videos for a while now and I wanted to try my hand at writing and editing a long running web series. Charles and I are both slated to tour together, so I thought it would be fun to incorporate the cities we went to into some sort of series. Plus I have this incredible talent pool of actors to pull from and everyone always seems excited to participate in my videos. I had the name of the show in my head for a long time but didn’t have a concept. Then I thought, we’re doing a musical so why don’t we just pretend it’s another big musical tour and then we can make a funny series about our day to day lives. But then Charles suggested we do a low budget children’s theater type show… and then I said Dumpster Baby the musical! And then, well the rest is history.
Tubefilter: What are your longer term plans for the series?
KY: We are planning to have a new episode up on the website the first of every month. The second episode will be released February 1, and the third episode is written and waiting to be filmed. Because this series is eventually going to be at the whim of our touring schedule, we’re not sure how it’s going to pan out after the third episode is released. We are going to try to do an episode for every city we tour to so we can showcase each city and the places we enjoyed hanging out in. We hope that we can get local businesses and groups involved in our show as well. As for how many episodes… the sky’s the limit as far as I’m concerned. As long as Charles and I are on tour together we will be making episodes. After that, the concept might change depending on where we are in our lives.
Tubefilter: How did you and Charles first become friends?
KY: When I joined the cast of the musical Wicked in Chicago Charles had just started as well. We ended up living in the same area so we’d hang out and explore the city. We are essentially who Eddie and Bruce are except nicer, slightly less sarcastic… and not alcoholics.
Tubefilter: How much of the show stems from real life experience?
KY: Most of it in a very extreme way! I mean everybody knows a Matilda (Alicia Albright’s character). In fact I think everybody in show biz has a little Matilda in them! I’ll admit that I get a lot of satisfaction out of writing her character. Most of what the directors and Matilda say are things that have been said in real rehearsals throughout my career and that have annoyed the heck out of me. So now I get to make fun of it! The way the dumpster baby musical is set up is very true to life: Auditions, rehearsals, notes, costume fittings… it’s all pretty accurate. And as for the dumpster baby musical itself? Well I thought it was the most ridiculously offensive thing until I asked around. Supposedly there was an educational musical that toured in Chicago called The Wizard Of AIDS. My friend also played an unborn fetus in another touring educational musical. There was G rated rap music involved in that one. Suddenly everyone around me had a story about the horrors of touring with children’s theater. So although I’ve never done children’s theater I don’t think we’re so far off.
Tubefilter: Any preview for what’s to come?
KY: Well I hope people will watch our show and get a laugh out of it. This season you’ll see competing children’s theater shows, obsessed fans, protesters and bad reviews, several inappropriate yet catchy songs, Matilda getting martini’s thrown at her, Eddie rapping in a duck costume, and Bruce (Charles) doing high kicks in a diaper.