Chasing the Broadway dream has been the subject of movies and hit Television shows Glee and Smash, but anything TV can do the web can do better. One of the stars of Smash, and star of It Could Be Worse, Wesley Taylor (he plays Bobby incase you haven’t seen it) had already captured an online audience with his Broadway themed web-series Billy Green. Along with fellow co-creator Mitchell Jarvis their two man operation Four A.M. Productions recently released episode 11 of their new web series It Could Be Worse.
Meet Jacob Gordon (Wesley Taylor) a down on his luck actor striving to find his big break in the competitive Broadway industry. The road to success is paved with obstacles as Jacob must endure the scrutiny of auditions, his troublesome relationship with boyfriend Phillip (Gideon Glick) and the sudden arrival of his father who moves in with Jacob following a mid-life crisis. Jacob’s losing streak shows signs of turning around when he’s cast in a new play, The Ice Queen, but this soon causes a whole new set of problems for him.
Where Billy Green was a spoof about the Broadway industry, It Could Be Worse is more autobiographical in origin. Series co-creator Mitchell Jarvis explains the birth of the concept;
“While waiting for funding to shoot a dummy pilot of “Veronica” (a series pilot developed by Taylor), we decided to shoot a series of short sketches based on personal stories of humiliation. The first sketch would be Wes’ true story of humiliation that later became the “Ladies Room”. A short that later became the pilot episode for “it could be worse”. At that point our dummy pilot funding fell through, and so we set out to merge those ideas. “Ladies Room” and “Veronica” would merge to create the world of Jacob Gordon and “it could be worse”
The dark humour won’t be music to everybody’s ears but it’s a confident, well produced series that has a harmonious balance of drama and comedy. Taking a grown up look at the trials and tribulations of a Broadway wannabe the series certainly isn’t afraid of its potentially niche appeal and does offer a fresh feeling take on a fairly tired subject.
Adding some extra razzle dazzle to proceedings they’ve tempted several cast members from SMASH for cameos including Debra Messing and Brennan Brown aka Mr Dresden from the old Orange mobile phone adverts. Tony Award nominated actresses Nancy Opel, Jennifer Damiano and Alison Fraser also feature and more or less all the cast are Broadway stars in their own right.
A love and understanding of Broadway isn’t a prerequisite for enjoying this series, if like me you’re not that well versed with the industry some of the jokes might go over you’re head but they’ve smartly made the circumstances Jacob goes through relatable. Since the launch of the series in February 11 of the 15 episodes have been released, long term the creators would like to make the series their primary focus but are open to what format that might be or as Taylor puts it “We would like to pitch the series to cable… although the Internet is taking over entertainment. There are many shows thriving on web sources”.
You can get up to date with the series so far by heading over to their website or you can audition the show by checking out episode one below.