Inspired by the successful reading of the classic play, “12 Angry Men,” by Reginald Rosethis fall featuring 12 Broadway actresses, producer Lauren Class Schneider announced in January that women in law schools, universities, high schools, community and regional theaters, and community centers across the country were invited to raise their voices – with scripts in hand – in readings of the play with all-female casts over the weekend of April 5-8, 2019.
See article here: https://goo.gl/uBC8MN
Ms. Schneider just announced that readings of “12 Angry Men” performed by 12 Impassioned Women will take place in Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin over the weekend of April 5-8, 2019, as part of 12,000 Voices. Additional participants across the country, including several Broadway casts, are expected to be announced soon. In an effort to be as inclusive as possible, the registration deadline has been extended to March 1st, 2019. To register to host a reading, or for more information, visit www.12000voices.com/participate
Producer Lauren Class Schneider said: “After our September presentation of “12 Angry Men” performed by 12 Broadway Women, we knew this was powerful. We’re excited that so many local communities are moved by this opportunity to use their love of theatre for civic engagement.” Mary Fox in northern Minnesota exclaimed, “More opportunities for women and voter awareness are things we want tattooed on our foreheads!”
Following each staged reading of “12 Angry Men,” audience members, cast, and staff will have the opportunity to update their voter registration. Information will also be shared about how to increase voter registration and voter turnout locally.
Registration is open through March 1. To register, visit 12000voices.com/participate
Here’s a taste of what some communities are doing:
· An MFA student in Texas has coordinated with her advisors to use 12,000 Voices as her thesis. To help defray the costs of school, she works at the law library on campus, and has coordinated with them to present her reading in an actual courtroom on campus.
· A Broadway roadhouse in Wisconsin is partnering with a local university to present their reading. They’re hoping to feature a cast comprised of community members, including a police officer, firefighter, EMT, newscaster, radio personality, and elected officials.
· A New Jersey school teacher is in a district that can’t afford rights to plays. She typically has her students write their own after-school shows. 12,000 Voices gives her an opportunity to allow the students to present a bonified published script with the bonus of voter registration for their parents.
· A former actor / lawyer is at the helm of a new arts center in New Jersey. The community is 40% Hispanic and 50% Black. The new arts center will be in a renovated historic church, but their presentation of “12 Angry Men performed by 12 Impassioned Women” is taking place before the renovation even begins on their new home!
· In Louisiana, at an upcoming benefit for a Battered Women’s Shelter, they are promoting a presentation of “12 Angry Men performed by 12 Impassioned Women” taking place at a local professional theatre.
· In Idaho, they’ve asked a local judge to play the role of “the judge” in their presentation.
· Girl Scouts aren’t only selling cookies! One troop on Long Island is also working on casting their presentation of “12 Angry Men performed by 12 Impassioned Women”.
“Harnessing the power of storytelling by simultaneously presenting this timeless play around the country, we hope to stimulate community engagement on a local level” said Schneider, who has served as campaign staff on several presidential campaigns along with her experience as a Broadway producer. “Because the play makes a powerful argument for the value of civic involvement, it’s a great platform for a voter registration event” she said.
“Rose wrote the original courtroom drama as a teleplay in 1954, some 19 years before women could serve on juries in all 50 states. An all-female cast of this play, at this time, is relevant on so many levels,” Schneider said.
Schneider said she chose the name “12,000 Voices” for the initiative because of its aspirational value. “Over the course of time, imagine the reading being performed in 1000 locations, making 12,000 voices.”
On Sunday, September 16, 2018: a Broadway star-studded performance of “12 Angry Men” introduced the initiative to build momentum for the April 5-8 weekend of 12,000 Voices!
Directed by Cady Huffman, the cast included Kathleen Chalfant, Lynn Cohen, Jenn Colella, Ariana DeBose, Jenn Gambatese, Ann Harada, Amber Iman, Chilina Kennedy, Caitlin Kinnunen, Jill Paice, Dale Soules, and Ana Villafañe.
“12 Angry Men” was adapted from Reginald Rose’s 1954 teleplay of the same name for the CBS Studio One television series. The success of the made-for-television courtroom drama resulted in a film adaptation directed by Sidney Lumet. Twelve Angry Men was Lumet’s first feature film, and the only producing credit for Henry Fonda (who also starred in the film). Viewed as a classic, the film was nominated for three Academy Awards, including “Best Director,” “Best Picture,” and “Best Screenplay.” The Broadway debut of Twelve Angry Men came 50 years after CBS aired the play, opening on October 28, 2004 at the Roundabout Theatre Company’s American Airlines Theatre where it ran for 328 performances and was nominated for three Tony Awards, including “Best Revival of a Play,” “Best Actor in a Play,” and “Best Direction of a Play.”
In the story, a 19-year-old man has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. It looks like an open-and-shut case – until one of the jurors begins opening the others’ eyes to the facts. Sequestered in a small room, each juror reveals their own character as the various testimonies are re-examined, the murder is re-enacted and a new murder threat is born before their eyes. Tempers get short, arguments grow heated, and the jurors become Twelve Angry Men.
To register to host a reading, or for more information, visit www.12000voices.com
To sponsor an educational group who would be otherwise unable to participate, visit GoFundMe.com/12000Voices