For the first time in its 57-year history, The Heights Players will present “Twelve Angry Men,” a classic drama that helped usher into America a new age of civil rights and social justice. Written by Reginald Rose, this play was originally staged for television in the late 1950s, starring Robert Cummings. After actor Henry Fonda saw the show, he partnered with director Sidney Lumet and turned it into an award-winning film. Today, almost 50 years later, “Twelve Angry Men” still packs an emotional wallop.
The Heights Players’ production fulfills a longstanding wish by the show’s director and Heights Players president, Ed Healy. The premise of the play is simple enough – 12 men are gathered in a jury room to decide the fate of teenage boy accused of murder. These men are strangers to each other, but by the time the story ends, each juror will reveal his true nature – for better or worse.
When it first came out, “Twelve Angry Men” shook the country to its core. For the first time, audiences not only witnessed the inner working of our justice system, but the play allowed them to delve deeply into the very beliefs that bind together Americans. Like the characters, the audience is forced to confront the issue, “did he or didn’t he commit the murder?” The experience sheds light on the far-reaching consequences of a verdict for guilt or innocence.
Even though half a century has passed since the play’s debut, this potent drama still has enough tension, suspense and impact to keep audiences gripped on the edge of their seats. In fact, in light of the recent Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, “Twelve Angry Men” remains highly relevant.
“Twelve Angry Men” opens on Nov. 1 and runs through Nov. 17. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at 26 Willow Place (between State and Joralemon Streets) in Brooklyn Heights. Tickets are $20 ($18 for seniors and those under the age of 18). Reservations can be made by calling 718-237-2752 or by visiting the Heights Players’ website (www.heightsplayers.org).