Posted on May 28, 2021 at 10 p.m.
In March 2020, the 14 cast members of “Twelve Angry Jurors” were in their final rehearsals at the Pennsylvania Playhouse when everything was brought to a halt by the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19).
Now the cast finally have the chance to return to the Bethlehem Theater stage for 12 live performances from June 4-21. The curtain is at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 3:00 p.m. on Sundays.
“Twelve Angry Jurors” was in tech week last year when the pandemic hit and the cast and crew are very happy to finally be able to perform, ”said Rody Gilkeson, administrator of the Playhouse Theater.
Gilkeson says the performing rights company that runs the play does not offer broadcast or online viewing rights, so “Jurors” will be the first fully live production at the Playhouse in over a year.
Pennsylvania Playhouse’s most recent production, “Talley’s Folly,” was presented live and on video on demand.
“We do everything to get people to go back to the theater,” said Gilkeson.
“Twelve Angry Jurors” was originally written by Reginald Rose as “Twelve Angry Men”, winner of an Emmy in 1954, for the CBS-TV anthology series “Studio One”. It was written only for men because it takes place at a time when women weren’t allowed to sit on the jury. The production at the Playhouse was adapted by Sherman L. Sergel for mixed distribution.
The play contemplates the responsibility of 12 ordinary people as they consider the guilt or innocence of a 19-year-old man accused of murdering his father.
The story takes place after closing arguments have been presented at trial and the judge instructs the jury. In criminal cases, jurors must unanimously decide the verdict. If anyone disagrees, a “suspended jury” will result and the trial will be declared null and void. The jury is also told that a guilty verdict will result in a mandatory death sentence.
As jurors retreat to the jury room to deliberate, what appears to be an open and closed case turns into a debate of ideals when a juror does not vote to convict.
Jurors bring their own stories, prejudices and prejudices into the jury room as they work on the life or death ruling in the room that examines the very human side of the American justice system.
The cast, returning from last year, includes Gary Boyer, Jillian McLuhan, Shaun Hayes, Renata Zumberger, Gabe Craig, Jenelle Castrigano, Parker Ryan, Dara Connelly, John Corl, Trish Steele, Denise Shelton and Sue Matol as jurors, Michael Sheridan as guardian and Gene Connelly as voice of the judge.
Playhouse production manager Marian Barshinger said the cast rehearsed with face masks and planned to wear see-through masks for the performances.
Gilkeson said. As of the deadline for this article, face masks are mandatory for theatergoers. However, he recommends that customers check the Playhouse website for updates.
Tickets are sold in general admission. The public will be seated in a socially distanced manner.
Tickets: www.paplayhouse.org; 610-865-6665
PHOTO CONTRIBUTED BY MARIAN BARSHINGER From left, standing, Dara Connelly (juror 8), Jenelle Castrignano (juror 6), Shaun Hayes (juror 3) and, seated, Gary Boyer (foreman), Jillian McLuhan (juror 2), Denise Shelton ( Juror 11) and Trish Steele (Juror 10), “Twelve Angry Jurors,” June 4-21, The Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem.