When writing partners Brian Sloan and Mark Sam Rosenthal shot the pilot episode of West 40s last year they were doing more than creating yet another comedic series about life in New York City; they were also responding to the frustration of gays over 40 the country over, many of whom have wondered for years, “Where are my stories being told?”
The truth is a bit grim: they largely aren’t being told. But instead of simply ‘rolling over,’ Sloan and Rosenthal set out to change that.
West 40s is a brand-new web series following a group of five gay friends who call Manhattan’s Hells Kitchen home. They’re also each navigating life in their 40s. With the exception of a few mainstream series, like the recent return of Will & Grace, it’s one of a handful of projects geared to this slice of the LGBTQ community, which frankly has some hilarious stories to tell.
“We felt that most online digital series and shows with LGBTQ characters were aimed at much younger folks, generally under 30,” Sloan says. “There seemed to be some idea about online series — that no one over 30 watches them, which is obviously not true.”
Enter this “midlife, midtown comedy,” which is set to premiere on July 12. (Though you can catch a preview of the new series below.)
For those unfamiliar with Manhattan’s ‘queer stratification,’ Hell’s Kitchen is arguably New York City’s gayest neighborhood. As Sloan says, “Not only does it have more than 15 gay bars and clubs, but it’s where you’ll find a lot of gay people living who moved there from the Village and Chelsea when those areas gentrified. And, of course, more than a few singers, actors and dancers from the Broadway world. I mean, it’s nicknamed the Dance Belt!”
It’s a neighborhood that Sloan and Rosenthal know well, having lived and worked in the area for years, and West 40s promises to offer a hilarious look at the inner-workings of the gayborhood and its residents.
Most importantly, though, West 40s is a celebration of being gay, over 40 and living the dream in Manhattan, not some mopey tale on the woes of aging.
“We wanted to do a show that looked at gay life post-40 and the ‘midlife crisis’ but with more of a sense of humor and not the ‘gloom and doom’ in which that time is usually portrayed,” says Sloan of his and Rosenthal’s series. “The show will explore the challenges of aging for all these characters as well as the unexpected fun of it, too. It’s really meant to reflect both of our experiences in our 40s. Believe me, we’ve done a lot of research!”
Watch a teaser of West 40s here:
Head here for more info on West 40s and to subscribe to the show’s mailing list.
Featured image by Phil O’Brien