January 1, 2020

“12 Angry Men” At Kelsey Theatre

CRUCIAL VERDICT: Nicholas Pecht (Juror No. 7), Bill Kamps (Juror No. 8), and William Walters (Juror No. 9) in the upcoming production of “12 Angry Men,” January 17-26 at Kelsey Theatre.

The life of a young man hangs in the balance and rests in the hands of 12 jurors in a seemingly open-and-shut case. But, can they set aside personal prejudices and preconceptions in the name of justice? That is the question for 12 Angry Men, presented by Forté Dramatic Productions January 17-26 at Mercer County Community College’s (MCCC) Kelsey Theatre.

Dates and show times are Friday, January 17 and 24 at 8 p.m.; Saturday, January 18 and 25 at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, January 19 and 26 at 2 p.m. Kelsey Theatre is located on MCCC’s West Windsor Campus, 1200 Old Trenton Road. The community is invited to an opening night reception with the cast and crew following the January 17 performance.

Set in the 1950s, 12 Angry Men follows the intense examination of 12 jurors as they deliberate following the murder trial of a young man accused of killing his father. While the evidence seems to be stacked against the defendant, prejudices are tested and members of the jury are forced to look past courtroom theatrics to discover the truth. Thrust into the executioner’s role, these 12 men must first face themselves.

“The original production was set in a turbulent time — the struggle for civil rights, emergence from a global conflict, and the escalation of the Cold War created a nation rife with anxiety and distrust,” said Director John Zimmerman. “In spite of the progress we’ve made as a society since that time, we face many similar challenges today. That’s the reason 12 Angry Men is a timeless classic.”

To address many of the issues brought up during the performance, the cast and production team will host a special “talkback” following the shows on Saturday, January 18 and Friday, January 24. The audience is invited to join in a conversation about the play, the issues that it raises, and its continued relevance in today’s world in contrast to the original 1954 production.

Originally presented as a live television broadcast in 1954, 12 Angry Men went on to become an Academy Award-winning motion picture starring Henry Fonda as Juror No. 8 and Lee J. Cobb as Juror No. 3. The American Film Institute ranks the film as one of the greatest courtroom dramas of all time, second only to To Kill a Mockingbird. A television remake in 1997 featured Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott, who earned an Emmy for his portrayal of Juror No. 3.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors and students and may be purchased at kelseytheatre.org or by calling the Kelsey Box Office at (609) 570-3333.