“Twelve Angry Men “
by Reginald Rose
Twelve Angry Men is a play by Reginald Rose adapted from his 1954 teleplay of the same title for the CBS Studio One anthology television series. The play’s Broadway debut came 50 years later on October 28, 2004, at the Roundabout Theatre, where it ran for 328 performances.
Rose wrote several stage adaptations of the story. In 1964, Leo Genn appeared in the play on the London stage. In other theatrical adaptations in which female actors are cast the play is sometimes retitled 12 Angry Jurors or 12 Angry Women.
Harold Pinter directed a production of the play, which opened at the Bristol Old Vic on March 7, 1996. With set design by Eileen Diss, lighting design by Mick Hughes, and costume design by Tom Rand, its cast included Stuart Rayner (Juror 1, Foreman), Kevin Dignam (Juror 2), Tony Haygarth (Juror 3), Timothy West (Juror 4), Maurice Kaufmann (Juror 5), Matt Ferren (Juror 6), Tim Healy (Juror 7), Kevin Whately (Juror 8), Peter Vaughan (Juror 10), Robert East (Juror 11), Christopher Somin (Juror 12), Joshua Losey (Guard), and E. G. Marshall, as the Voice of the Judge.
The Roundabout Theatre Company presented a Broadway production of the play, starring Boyd Gaines as a more combative Juror 8, with James Rebhorn (Juror 4), Philip Bosco (Juror 3), and Robert Prosky as the Voice of the Judge.
In 2007, L.A. Theatre Works presented a production of the play that was recorded as an audiobook; directed by John de Lancie, the cast included Dan Castellaneta, Jeffrey Donovan, Hector Elizondo, Robert Foxworth, James Gleason, Kevin Kilner, Richard Kind, Alan Mandell, Rob Nagle, Armin Shimerman, Joe Spano, and Steve Vinovich.
That same year, Twelve Angry Men ran on a national tour with Richard Thomas and George Wendt starring as Juror 8 and Juror 1, respectively. It received positive reviews from critics. The 2008 tour did not include Wendt but featured another popular TV personality, Kevin Dobson, of Kojak and Knots Landing, as Juror 10.
In 2009, a group of Lebanese prisoners (including at least one convicted murderer) put on their version of the play, entitled Twelve Angry Lebanese, for Lebanese government officials in which the characters discuss Lebanese prison conditions.
Characters and Story
The drama depicts a jury forced to reconsider its nearly unanimous decision by the single dissenter who sows a seed of reasonable doubt. The story begins after closing arguments have been presented in a homicide case, as the judge is giving his instructions to the jury. As in most American criminal cases, the twelve men must unanimously decide on a verdict of “guilty” or “not guilty”. (In the justice systems of nearly all American states, failure to reach a unanimous verdict, a so-called “hung jury”, results in a mistrial.) The case at hand pertains to whether a young man murdered his own father. The jury is further instructed that a guilty verdict will be accompanied by a mandatory death sentence. These twelve then move to the jury room, where they begin to become acquainted with the personalities of their peers. Throughout their deliberation, not a single juror calls another by his name because the names are unknown by the jurors. Several of the jurors have different reasons for discriminating against the witness: his race, his background, and the troubled relationship between one juror and his own son.
Video Clip from 1957 Movie
In 1957, Sidney Lumet directed Henry Fonda and an all-star cast in a film adaptation which was nominated for Academy Awards in the categories of Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Writing of Adapted Screenplay.
Awards and Nominations
2005 Drama Desk Award for Best Revival of a Play
2005 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Play
- 1.”Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose, The Bristol Old Vic, 7 March 1996″. HaroldPinter.org. Harold Pinter. 1996-03-07. Retrieved 2009-03-07.
- 3. Antelava, Natalia (2009 February 28). “Lebanese prisoners stage drama”. BBC News. Retrieved 2009-02-28.