Theater UAB grad is co-producer of ‘The Gilded Age,’ an HBO drama set in the booming 1882 – Reuters

Opera theater

The American period piece is “large scale” entertainment. Alumnus Luke Harlan helped shape the lavish new series, and he credits UAB’s theater department, where he learned many of his skills.

Luke HarlanTo help bring HBO’s “The Gilded Age” to life, co-producer Luke Harlan used many of the skills he learned in school, including his time at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

A director and producer for television, film and theatre, Harlan graduated in 2008 from the Theater Department of the College of Arts and Sciences, which he credits with giving him the chance to learn a diverse skill set. Harlan earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Directing at the Yale School of Drama.

Harlan helped shape the lavish new series, which is set in the boomtown of 1882 New York. Her role on the show’s production team – written and created by Julian Fellowes of “Downton Abbey” and “Gosford Park” – depended on where she was in production.

During pre-production, he functioned much like a playwright, he says, overseeing the production research team and working closely with the writers to maintain historical accuracy, and helping to navigate at all times. in scenarios with more than 50 characters.

It’s “a really big undertaking,” he said, “to juggle so many characters and keep their stories moving” over an entire season (and even multiple seasons) and fill the world with the series with detail and precision.

During production, Harlan was more active with the directors and cast. He was “on set every day, watching carefully to be sure that what we capture on camera [was] what was planned, as well as coordinating with the many different design and technical departments on the world build.

TGA insideCourtesy of HBO “The Golden Age” “During post-production, I work with many more amazing artists, from editors to sound designers and composers, to visual effects artists, to help guide the episode through its final stages and onto screens,” Harlan said.

Prior to that, Harlan worked on film and television projects, including ‘The Irishman’, ‘Joker’, ‘The Chaperone’ and ‘Saturday Night Live’, as well as producing and directing several short films, including the award-winning “White Flags,” which screened at 15 festivals across the country.

In New York theater, he directed Greg Kalleres’ New York Times Critic’s Pick “Honky” and co-wrote and starred in The Assembly’s New York Times Critic’s Pick “home/sick.” He has developed new plays at the Public Theater, New York Theater Workshop, Tectonic Theater Project, New Group, Kennedy Center, Columbia University, and O’Neill Theater Center, among others.

His awards and recognitions include Opera America winner Robert L. Tobin Director-Designer Showcase 2017, TS Eliot US/UK Exchange Fellow and a Eugene O’Neill Center Directing Fellow. At the Yale School of Drama, he directed over 15 productions.

“I still view my time at UAB as training for my artistic career,” Harlan said. “The program gave me the space to learn many different skills, from set and lighting design to stage management, costume construction, as well as acting and directing. scene.”

                             Courtesy of HBO “The Golden Age” It was at UAB that Harlan found his passion for directing. During his time with UAB Theater, Harlan directed “The Laramie Project” as the first student to lead a principal production. He returned in 2017, as an alumnus, to direct “Vinegar Tom”. While still a student, he won the National Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers Directing Award at the National Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Washington, DC.

“It’s a testament to my teachers who believed in me and encouraged me to always go the extra mile and dream bigger,” he said.

People who intend to pursue a career in theater or the arts should vary their studies.

“I would encourage students, whatever their particular pursuit, to branch out and learn other skills that interest them,” Harlan said. “Because, as I learned very well, you never know where life will take you. Stay open, be kind and follow your passion.