In Stage Coach Players' next theater production, a 16-year-old boy has been tried for murder, both the prosecuting and defense attorneys have rested their cases, and now the real drama begins.
"Twelve Angry Jurors," from the original teleplay "12 Angry Men," by Reginald Rose and adapted by Sherman L. Sergel, opens June 5 and runs through June 15.
Set in Philadelphia in 1976, it is the story of 12 people who deliberate the guilt or innocence of a teenage boy charged with the murder of his abusive father. If convicted, he will be sentenced to death. Unwilling to sentence the boy to death without at least discussing the case, one man stands alone against the overwhelming sentiment of all 11 other jurors that this was a simple open and shut murder case.
As deliberations continue, personal experiences, prejudices, racism, pure logic and emotional opinion all come together to create a room full of 12 angry jurors.
Although written in the 1950s, director Tim Ball says the play is as relevant today as it was 60 years ago.
“As long as humans exist, there will be those who will not be able to keep themselves from judging others, or a group of people, without knowing much about them,” he said in a news release.
The teleplay for "12 Angry Men" was originally produced in 1954 for the anthology series, Studio One. The teleplay won three Emmy Awards including Best Written Dramatic Material. It was subsequently made into a stage play the following year and the famous film version starring Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb and Ed Begley in 1957.
According to Ball, more than a dozen popular television shows have had episodes based on the story, including “All In the Family,” “Matlock” and “The Simpsons.”
“’The Simpsons’ star, Dan Castellaneta, NIU graduate and the voice of Homer Simpson even lent his dramatic voice to an audiobook rendition of the play,” he said in the release.
Film versions of the story have been produced in German, Indian and Russian.
A unique aspect of this stage play is that it can be adapted for 13 men or women or any combination of both. This Stage Coach version includes both men and women. Cast members are Sarah Jarocha, Sara Schuneman, Ginger Sommer, Mike Groark, Stephanie Johnson, Hayden Perkins, Vince Virtue, Steve Challgren, Chris Porterfield, Bob Cain, Darlene Hillman, Barb Kolb and John Davis.
"Twelve Angry Jurors" runs June 5 through 7 and 12 through 15 at Stage Coach Theatre, 126 S. Fifth St., DeKalb. Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. on weekdays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sunday. Reserved seat tickets cost $12 for adults and $10 for children older than 5. Tickets are available online at www.stagecoachers.com or by phone at the box office at 815-758-1940.