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BWW Interview: Rob Ulin Talks Debut Stage Play JUDGMENT DAY, Starring Patti LuPone, Jason Alexander and More

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JUDGMENT DAY, which benefits Barrington Stage Company and The Actors Fund will premiere on Saturday, August 22 at 7:30 pm.

BWW Interview: Rob Ulin Talks Debut Stage Play JUDGMENT DAY, Starring Patti LuPone, Jason Alexander and More

Rob Ulin is a Peabody Award, Golden Globe, Humanitas Prize-winning television writer and show runner. He has written for and produced some of the most lauded televisions shows in history, including Roseanne, Malcolm in the Middle, Young Sheldon, and Ramy, writing for stars such as Laurie Metcalf, John Goodman, Roseanne Barr, Bryan Cranston, Jane Kaczmarek, Norm Macdonald, and Jerrod Carmichael. With such an illustrious television career, it would only be natural that his debut stage play would make just as big of a splash.

Judment Day, which will premiere online as a benefit for Barrington Stage Company and The Actors Fund, stars Jason Alexander, Patti LuPone, Santino Fontana, Michael McKean, Loretta Devine, Josh Johnston, Bianca LaVerne Jones, Julian Emile Lerner, Justina Machado, Carol Mansell, Michael Mastro and Elizabeth Stanley.

Judgment Day follows Sammy Campo, a corrupt lawyer who has a near-death experience and encounters an angel who threatens him with eternal damnation. In an attempt to redeem himself, Sammy teams with a Catholic priest, together debating morality, faith and more in this irreverent comedy.

The reading will premiere on Saturday, August 22 at 7:30 pm and will be available for viewing for a limited period of 96 hours, through Tuesday, August 25.

Access to the show is available with a donation of $35 or more and can be ordered by visiting www.BarringtonStageCo.org/JudgmentDay.

Rob spoke with us about the biggest differences in writing a play versus writing for the television, what it was like working with the star-studded cast, and more!


How did Judgment Day come about?

I wrote the play with no specific idea of where it would go or who would produce it. I just loved the idea of a scumbag lawyer with no moral compass getting a chance at redemption. A year ago, the director Matthew Penn read it and brought it to the Berkshire Playwrights Lab, where they did a staged reading. I worked on it a little more, and then he brought it to Barrington Stage.

What was it like writing your first stage play not for the physical stage, but for the screen?

I didn't write it to be an online play. We have an incredible cast, and I am thrilled with how the virtual production came out, but I still think there is no substitute for watching actors live on stage.

What did you find was the biggest difference in writing for television and writing a play?

Writing for TV, you have a whole bunch of cinematic tricks you can fall back on. You can cut to someone's close up. You can zoom. You can tell the audience exactly where to look. With a play, you just have two (or more) actors saying lines to each other. The audience looks wherever they want. You have to work harder to hold their attention.

How does it feel to be creating theater at all during this difficult time?

It feels great. The shooting was a blast. We were spread all over the country, but it really felt like we were a company putting on a play. I think the actors were hungry to be performing again, and it helped that this was a comedy. Jason Alexander set a wonderful tone and was upbeat and supportive of everyone. I also think everybody felt good about doing work for a charitable cause.

Talk to me about how the play was filmed!

All the actors performed in their own homes in front of their computers. I was at my house in Los Angeles. The director, Matthew Penn, was home in Massachusetts. The actors could see each other through zoom, but they were also recording themselves in HD using the QuickTime app. After several scenes, they would all save their HD files onto an external hard drive. When we finished, we went about collecting all the drives so we could work with the HD footage.

What was it like working with this incredible cast?

It was just as great as you would imagine. They were all such pros. Even Julian Emile Lerner, who I think is 12-years-old, is a veteran of Broadway. They all knew just what to do, which was important because we didn't have a lot of rehearsal time.

Do you have anything else you would like to share?

I just hope people will watch. And if they like what they see, hopefully they will tell their friends about it or post something on social media.


Check out the trailer for Judgment Day below!

For more information visit: https://barringtonstageco.org/judgmentday/

Donate HERE.


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