There’s no doubt about it though, that long before he ever realized he wanted to pursue a career in filmmaking, Wilson struck gold with this quirky, hilarious and often heartwarming series as he starred alongside friends Nina Sturtz, Vanessa Ray, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Dani Spieler, Cortney Wolfson, and Ana Nogueira. In addition to a great cast of regulars, the series was never short of special guest stars: from Broadway legends such as Shoshana Bean and Sutton Foster, to Glee’s own Matthew Morrison and Jonathan Groff, you never knew who would show up in Wilson’s hit series. (I wonder if there will be any noteworthy guest stars in the reunion– oh who are we kidding, of course there will be!)
From songs about stripping, the right to get high, the emphasis of not wearing leggings as pants, or the much needed message to just be yourself, The Battery’s Down never failed to keep me hooked and entertained throughout its run online. I remember countless nights humming to “Video Chat,” “This is Your Life,” and “Taking Off” during my downtime in college. Or ya know, wanting to pack up all of my things and move to L.A. because hey– these cool kids were doing it, so why not?
The Season 3 reunion episode is slated to hit Hulu’s pipeline and has the potential to reach nearly 9 million of its paying subscribers– can you say eff yeah, TBD? But before all the old fans reminisce about their beloved gang returning to their screens, and the new fans catch wind of what they’ve been missing out on for years, let’s revisit some of those familiar faces that made The Battery’s Down feel like home (a really extravagant, often dysfunctional– with lots of singing–home).
GETTING TO KNOW THE CAST
Favorite song from THE BATTERY’S DOWN? Probably “Roller Coaster Highway.” I love the original, but I also love that we got Sutton Foster to sing on the reprise. And of course Queen Shoshana Bean in “When You’re Low.”
Most exciting guest star to work with? I would have to say Ariana Grande. At the time, she wasn’t super famous yet but I knew she was going to be. I fan-girled out when I found out that she was gonna actually sing on “All About Me” track for TBD… I had seen “13 The Musical” twice by that point as was OBSESSED with her voice. Looking back, I wish we gave her a whole song!
Miss most about filming TBD? I miss constantly having excuses to contact Broadway’s biggest stars asking them to play. Like, who did I think I was writing to Allison Janney asking her to do my “web series?” Now everything is so official and through agents and managers, but back then it was literally through handwritten notes passed to the stars from my friends in the ensembles of their shows.
What have you been up to since the show wrapped? The series really illuminated for me what I wanted to do with my career – rather than pursuing a career as a Broadway actor, I have transitioned to writing/directing for TV & Film. My first feature “Are You Joking?” was released this past month on iTunes, Amazon and Hulu and I’m also developing a sitcom based on my life with my writing partner (and TBD alum), Sas Goldberg.
How do some of the roles you’ve gone on to play differ from your time spent on TBD? Ha. I pretty much just play versions of myself anytime that I am acting. A gayer version, a nicer version, a bitchier version… so not too far off from “Jake” on TBD.
Are there any other web series currently out there that you’re hooked on? I am LOVING Brian Jordan Alvarez’s “Boy Toys.” There’s only been the pilot so far, but it is the most true-to-life depiction of gay life in West Hollywood that I’ve ever seen. I died laughing. And… I am going to be playing a role in it soon and couldn’t be more excited! Also Andrew Keenan-Bolger’s “Submissions Only” duh.
Funniest person in the cast? Hmmm I think it’s gotta be Ana Nogueira as Molly Black. My favorite character in the show for sure.
From YouTube to Hulu, how is it revisiting this time in your lives and it being presented on such a widely watched platform? I’ve always been so proud of what I’ve created with TBD, but never really been confident enough in the production value of the original episodes to send it around to people these days. Now, with the new episode being shot by the same crew that shot my feature film, I am BEYOND HAPPY with how it all turned out and looks. It looks like a real show and makes me want to make so many more episodes with the quality of this Reunion one.
Can you tease anything about the TBD reunion coming up on Hulu? Alysha Umphress fucking kills it with a brand new opening number written by Adam Wachter, and there are also updated versions of two of the fan’s favorite tunes from the show.
Favorite song from THE BATTERY’S DOWN? My husband and I still sing “Eyes Wide Open” weekly. Like all the time. Thank you Ryan Scott Oliver.
Most exciting guest star to work with? Danny Visconti.
Miss most about filming TBD? Having Jake and Connor bamboozle me into doing absurd things.
What have you been up to since the show wrapped? I got married and I work in real estate now! I still sing around my apartment, and hang out with a theater crowd, I just wake up earlier than the rest of them now. I love it.
Funniest person in the cast? Andrew! Although I think all of my friends are hilarious.
From YouTube to Hulu, how is it revisiting this time in your lives and it being presented on such a widely watched platform? Nothing is more fun than doing a web series with your best friends. So to film a brand new episode years later has made us feel all super warm and fuzzy inside. Also it has been incredible to watch Jake grow as an artist. Super proud of Jake.
Can you tease anything about the TBD reunion coming up on Hulu? You get to see Jake’s penis! JK
Favorite song from THE BATTERY’S DOWN? I have a lot of faves, but my top 2 would probably be “Roller Coaster Highway” and “Eyes Wide Open.”
Miss most about filming TBD? I miss shooting a series with my best friends! Although it was always a miracle that each episode came together, there was nothing better than cracking each other up while trying to shoot scenes in the middle of the night, freezing our butts off, all over NYC.
What have you been up to since the show wrapped? I’ve mostly been working in musical theatre. Since the show, I was on the National Tours of WEST SIDE STORY and FLASHDANCE, and I have been performing in CHICAGO on Broadway for the past year and a half. This winter, I’ll be performing in ELF at Madison Square Garden.
Funniest person in the cast? Jake, of course!
From YouTube to Hulu, how is it revisiting this time in your lives and it being presented on such a widely watched platform? I’m so excited for TBD to be on Hulu! I feel like there’s a whole new generation of Musical Theatre kids who will be exposed to the show, and who will hopefully go back and watch the original YouTube episodes. It’s so different revisiting the show now… First of all, back in 2008, nobody was doing this! We were the original musical web series, and now, with shows like Smash and Glee, people are so open to and excited about the concept.
Back then, we had no idea what we were doing, so everything was trial and error. For the reunion episode, Jake knew exactly how to get what he wanted with the script, songs, and shots, so the episode is so polished and perfect. I think he did such a great job. It was also so fun to shoot the reunion episode, because it felt like a walk down memory lane… down to the midnight shots on the street of New York in the freezing cold!
Can you tease anything about the TBD reunion coming up on Hulu? It’s the best TBD has ever been!!! Fans, both old and new, definitely won’t be disappointed!
Favorite song from THE BATTERY’S DOWN? I mean, it’s gotta be “This Is Your Life.” Had I not known Jake and graduated the same year that this show came out, I would have absolutely been caught dancing to it in Times Square.
Most exciting guest star to work with? When we filmed “Ro, Ro, Ro Your Boat” we shot a quick cameo with Christine Ebersole. I was holding the camera, though I’m not even sure I introduced myself. I completely assumed someone as busy and illustrious as Christine would have forgotten me the second I walked out the door. Cut to seven years later I’m reintroduced to her on our first day of EVER AFTER rehearsals and she says…”Wait a second, did you once shoot a scene with me on a boat?”
Miss most about filming TBD regularly? I miss having an excuse to see my group of college friends. It’s pretty incredible, we’re all still very close, but there was nothing like having scheduled time to create with these amazing people.
What have you been up to since the show wrapped? I’ve gotten to do a couple of Broadway shows since TBD wrapped, — NEWSIES, MARY POPPINS and the upcoming TUCK EVERLASTING. I also went on to create my own webseries, SUBMISSIONS ONLY, and pen a book series called “Jack & Louisa” with my collaborator from that show.
Are there any other web series currently out there that you’re hooked on? It’s funny, when we started TBD, “web series” was a word you had to explain. Now I’m pretty sure they’re just called “series.” I love TRANSPARENT and DIFFICULT PEOPLE.
Funniest person in the cast? My vote goes to Nina.
From YouTube to Hulu, how is it revisiting this time in your lives and it being presented on such a widely watched platform? I think like most of us, I watch our old episodes with a mixture or nostalgia and horror. What was simultaneously exciting and scary about TBD was that we were figuring out how to tell a story without any paradigm existing for which to base it off. Jake was one of the first people to understand the potency of web content and while it can be cringe-y to watch ourselves as young, inexperienced actors/filmmakers, what is most prominent is how proud I am of us (specifically Jake) for accomplishing such a massive (and influential) undertaking.
Can you tease anything about the TBD reunion coming up on Hulu? It’s so exciting to see what Jake can accomplish now that he has made filmmaking his chosen career. It looks incredibly slick and has all the trappings about what was great about the original TBD, now just with people working on it who know what they’re doing.
Favorite song from THE BATTERY’S DOWN? “This is Your Life.” I like the line ‘it’s all you think about all damn day.’ Any person who is passionate about what they do can relate. Also, Cortney’s vocals. Forget about it. Soo good.
Miss most about filming the show? Well, TBD started right when I moved to New York. Like I literally had put my bags down in my sublet (yes, 789 ladies!!) and then walked over to Jake’s apt on 9th Ave to learn the “Sea Legs” choreography before we left for the Rosie Cruise the next morning. I miss the rouge feel to it all. It was and will forever be a staple of my New York experience.
What have you been up to since the show wrapped? Jake was kind enough (or dumb enough) to let me be in Are You Joking, a film my father, Jim, says is “better than Francis Ha. It should be called TOO funny!!” Thanks, dad. Currently I’m playing Eddie Janko on CBS Blue Bloods and CeCe/Charles/A on Pretty Little Liars.
How do some of the roles you’ve gone on to play differ from your time spent on TBD? I only ever played myself on TBD and I currently play a NYPD beat cop and a sociopathic-killer who happens to be transgendered… So different, I hope?
Funniest person in the cast? Dave Hull, the clown on the subway.
Favorite song from THE BATTERY’S DOWN? My favorite song would have to be “LA You Looked So Good”. Jake and I shot that video while I was working in LA and had the most amazing time running around on the beach. Every time I hear the song I get nostalgic!
Most exciting guest star to work with on the show? The most exciting guest star to work with on TBD was Julia Murney in the last episode of season two. She played the officiant at a lesbian wedding and we shot at Glass House Tavern all day long. I’ve alway been a big Julia Murney fan, and she was hilarious and wonderful that day.
Miss most about filming TBD? I mostly miss a never ending excuse to see my friends!
What have you been up to since the show wrapped? I’m currently playing Nicola in KINKY BOOTS on Broadway, just got married, and started a photography business with my husband called Curtis & Cort Photography: www.CurtisandCort.com
How do some of the roles you’ve gone on to play differ from your time spent on TBD? The roles I’ve played since TBD are all an extension of me. I always strive to bring myself into the characters I play, but with TBD I WAS myself. It was a fun and whacky experience to get to play “Cortney Wolfson” every episode.
Are there any other web series currently out there that you’re hooked on? Always a fan of Kate Weatherhead and Andrew Keenan-Bolger’s “Submissions Only”!
Funniest person in the cast? Dave Hull as the Clown.
From YouTube to Hulu, how is it revisiting this time in your lives and it being presented on such a widely watched platform? It’s incredible. If I start to watch one episode of TBD, I end up watching six episodes. When we were shooting the series, we were all so young and green and hungry. I love to go back and remember the sensation of just having moved to NYC. Even now, answering this, my eyes are welling up because the show represents our drive and desire to be on Broadway and create new art. I’m so lucky that I have documentation of that time in my life- it’s a great reminder of how lucky I am to have the career I have now.
Can you tease anything about the TBD reunion coming up on Hulu? All I can tell you is that it’s a TRUE reunion. All the characters you know and love from the series make some fun appearances!
Favorite song from THE BATTERY’S DOWN? I actually think it’s the first number they ever did “This Is Your Life.” I still get it stuck in my head sometimes. I think it’s clever and funny and also sort of a touching tribute to people committing to whatever weird thing they love and have chosen to dedicate their lives to.
Miss most about filming TBD? We made up so much stuff on the spot while we were filming – I don’t even want to say “there was a lot of improv” because that sounds more formal than what we were even doing which was more just saying ridiculous stuff and hoping it fit. So we would regularly crack each other up with whatever absurdity we thought up in the moment. I am pretty sure I peed myself a couple of times.
What have you been up to since the show wrapped? It’s been so long since we shot the last episode, it’s making me feel very old. Since we finished I’ve been lucky enough to do a good amount of TV work. I was on a series for a bit, The Michael J Fox Show on NBC. I’ve also shot a few pilots that didn’t make it to air and guest starred on a couple shows – including Blue Bloods starring TBD’s Vanessa Ray!! I’ve started writing a lot and my play “Empathitrax” is getting a production this December at Ensemble Studio Theater in NYC. Come check it out!
How do some of the roles you’ve gone on to play differ from your time spent on TBD? Oh well I have never played anyone as ridiculous as Molly Black. She has absolutely no boundaries. I could basically say or do anything and it made sense within the context of Molly. That rarely happens.
Are there any other web series currently out there that you’re hooked on? I just watched the first season of the series “The Outs” and was really impressed by it. The writing is just really good, which is, as far as I’m concerned, the most important part. I’m also a big fan of “High Maintenance” but I think it’s fair to say that I’m not alone there since it just got picked up by HBO!
Funniest person in the cast? Oh dear. I was always surprised by how funny everyone was and felt like I had to step up my game. I’m gonna give it to Sas Goldberg who played my wife and her own twin sister on the second season. Sas is funny in a very quiet, real way, which is my favorite kind of funny.
From YouTube to Hulu, how is it revisiting this time in your lives and it being presented on such a widely watched platform? Hmm, my major take away is probably that I think I look a lot better now than I did six years ago. Those first few years out of college can be ROUGH. It’s nice to see how everyone has grown up. A lot of us are married or engaged, and have done really exciting things with our careers. I think our TBD era selves would be proud of us. It’s insane that it’s going to be on Hulu but I also think it says a lot about how hard Jake has worked in the last few years and how far he’s come. It’s very cool to see.
Can you tease anything about the TBD reunion coming up on Hulu? I can’t think of any teasers but I will give some behind the scenes info. The last number of the show was filmed on the absolute coldest night and we were all freezing. I only survived because Vanessa had some spare hand warmers in her pocket from filming Blue Bloods and was kind enough to share them with me. On the cab ride home I had to take my shoes off and hold my feet in my hands in order to get the blood moving again.
Catch The Battery’s Down Reunion Episode on Hulu | HERE