by Paul Hansen 26 July, 2021
A stellar cast is featured in an encore streaming presentation of Judgment Day, an entertaining play by Rob Ulin. Among the stars in the production are Tony Award winners Jason Alexander (of Seinfeld fame, of course), Patti LuPone, Santino Fontana, and Grammy Award winner Michael McKean.
The play opens with Sammy Campo, a conniving, corrupt lawyer (played by Alexander) having a near-death experience in which he is confronted by an intimidating angel (LuPone) who warns him that he is courting eternal damnation. Campo seeks out a Catholic priest (Fontana) in an attempt to alter his dire destiny and the two launch into a series of discussions about the nature of morality and faith. Even in the midst of his spiritual dialogues Campo often can’t escape a tone of irreverence. The priest is in the midst of his own spiritual crisis as expressed in his exchanges with a monsignor (McKean). Interestingly, the structure of Judgment Day bears a certain similarity to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with Jacob Marley warning Ebenezer Scrooge to alter his ways.
Jason Alexander gives a vivid and very convincing portrayal of a morally challenged and excessively calculating lawyer. LuPone’s depiction of an angel is delightfully flamboyant and Fontana effectively projects a priest who is navigating through his own spiritual uncertainty. The production also has a very strong supporting cast, including Loretta Devine (as Campo’s assistant, Della), Justina Machado (Campo’s wife, Tracy), and Julian Emile Lerner (Casper, Campo’s son).
Ulin’s many TV credits include producing and writing for Ramy, Roseanne and The Kids Are Alright. He has also been the recipient of a Peabody Award and a Golden Globe. Judgment Day is fluidly directed by Matthew Penn whose credits include Law and Order, NYPD Blue, and Orange Is the New Black. Although technically billed as a reading, the show has more the feel of a finely tuned zoom performance. The integration of music by Jordan Plotner and illustrations by Melanie Cummings gives the production a polished look, creating a sense that there may very well be a place for continued well-crafted zoom/streaming theatrical productions after the pandemic is over.
This presentation of Judgment Day is being streamed to benefit Barrington Stage Company, a not-for-profit organization located in the Berkshires, Massachusetts. Although the play deals with some important philosophical and theological issues, the overall tone is light, comedic, and breezy. Fans of Seinfeld will no doubt be delighted to have another opportunity to see Jason Alexander in a post-George Costanza incarnation.
Judgment Day is being streamed from July 26 through August 1. Tickets are $11.99 and are available at StellarTickets.com. Tickets purchased before July 26 with the code “EARLY” will receive a $4 discount. Tickets for Judgment Day may be purchased here.
A trailer for the production can be viewed here.