Broadway hit Twelve Angry Men comes to TPAC

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Once again starring Richard Thomas (perhaps best known as John Boy from The Waltons) as Juror 8, HCA/TriStar Broadway at TPAC will present the Roundabout Theatre Company’s critically acclaimed national touring production of the Broadway smash hit, Twelve Angry Men, playing eight performances May 6-11, at TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall.
 
Also returning from last season are Mike Boland, Charles Borland, Todd Cerveris, Jeffrey Hayenga, David Lively, Mark Morettini and Julian Gamble. Rounding out the cast are Kevin Dobson, Thomas Gebbia, James Greene, Tony Ward and Mike DiSalvo.

Twelve Angry Men is such an important piece of theatre, and its success in New York and on their extended tour is a testament to that,” said Kathleen O’Brien, TPAC’s president and CEO. “When plays of this caliber are available, we work hard to include them in our Broadway series, as a balance to beloved musicals. I’m pleased to say that this production will live up to the buzz surrounding it. Richard Thomas and the full cast of jurors present powerful, compelling performances and audiences will leave the theater intrigued, and with much to discuss.”

Written by Reginald Rose and directed by Scott Ellis (Roundabout Associate Artistic Director), Twelve Angry Men is the first touring production for the not-for-profit organization. The design team for the play includes Allen Moyer (sets), Michael Krass (costumes), Paul Palazzo (lights) and Brian Ronan (sound).

In Twelve Angry Men, a young delinquent awaits sentencing for the manslaughter of his aggressive father. Twelve jurors are corralled in a room for their deliberations in a murder trial. One juror, Juror 8 (played by Richard Thomas), feels there is a “reasonable doubt” – to the frustration of his eleven colleagues – thereby preventing a quick verdict. During the heated debate, the hidden preconceptions and assumptions of the jurors are revealed. When faced with playing the hangman, each juror is forced to face himself.

Twelve Angry Men, originally written as a teleplay that appeared in 1954 on CBS’ drama series “Studio One,” was one of the brightest jewels of television’s Golden Age. The story was subsequently made into a major motion picture in 1957. Reginald Rose, who would go on to create and write scripts for the television series, “The Defenders,” wrote a stage version in 1964. In 1997, Showtime, in response to questions about “reasonable doubt” raised during the OJ Simpson trial, produced a new movie version with a racially diverse cast.    

“I feel like this play is particularly relevant to today’s America,” explained Richard Thomas, with unusual passion during an interview with O&AN. “In an age where due process is being thrown out the window and we are having our rights slowly eroded away on an almost daily basis, the message that Twelve Angry Men delivers is just the kind of moving and powerful swift kick in the pants that we need.”  

InsideOut, one of four TPAC Education programs, will offer a pre-show Arts Appetizer on Wed., May 7, at 6:15 p.m. in James K. Polk Lobby. This event, which is open to the public, features cast members from the production and local professionals who discuss topics relevant to the performance.  For more information, visit www.tpac.org/insideout.  

Tickets for Twelve Angry Men range from $20-65, depending on performance time and seat location. For tickets, visit www.tpac.org/12angrymen, the TPAC Box Office (Downtown or at Davis-Kidd Booksellers in The Mall at Green Hills), or any Ticketmaster outlet. Tickets may also be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 615-255-ARTS (2787).