It's been estimated that 240 million calls are made to 911 in the U.S. each year. Still, only a select few have been privy to the behind-the-scenes goings-on at the call centers responsible for handling those emergency inquiries.
An all-new web series, "What's Your Emergency," attempts to dramatize just that in a hilarious way, chronicling the the misadventures of the inept rescue workers of Hell, Michigan (a real place) as they attempt to run the town’s 911 call center. Written by Ryan Spahn and Halley Feiffer, the show features an emsemble cast of New York stage veterans, including Reed Birney, Sierra Boggess, Debra Monk, Kevin Covert and Mckean Rand, among others.
The series is directed by "Ugly Betty" star Michael Urie, who nabbed a 2013 Drama Desk Award for his solo performance in Jonathan Tolins’ "Buyer & Cellar." The 34-year-old actor told The Huffington Post in an email that he'd been "drawn to the kind of comedy that comes from putting morons in emergencies" since he first saw the 1980 comedy, "Airplane!"
The project's origins date back to Spahn's days at the Juilliard School when he created the character of "an idle idiot who worked at 911" as part of an improv class.
"I think low stakes people in high stakes situations are universally funny," Urie, who is Spahn's longtime partner, said. "After we were lucky enough to corral some of our favorite actors together, Ryan [and] Halley Feiffer went to work to create funny high stakes situations in which our actors could be hilariously low stakes."
The series will debut Jan. 27 as the flagship production of Stage17, a site which aims to "bridge the gap between traditional theatre and new media" that "marries audiences’ favorite aspects of theatre -- actors, writers, directors, and creativity -- with digital programming and theatrical content."
For Urie, the first season of "What's Your Emergency" is just the beginning: "The deeper we go with these characters, the funnier and darker their situations will be.”
Check out the trailer for "What's Your Emergency" above. Head here for more details.