Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble to present 12 Angry Jurors this weekend and next

Photo by Jennifer Finetti

From left to right: Chuck Phalen (Juror 9), David Ghilardi (Juror 3) and Robert Marcus (Juror 2) of the cast of Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble’s ’12 Angry Jurors.’

East County’s Ghostlight Theatre Ensemble is presenting its fall main stage production of 12 Angry Jurors, directed by Salim Razawi, and produced in association with El Campanil Theatre.

Performances will be held at El Campanil Theatre, located at 602 W. 2nd Street in Antioch on Oct. 1, 2, 8 and 9 at 8 p.m, and Oct. 3 and 10 at 2 p.m.

12 Angry Jurors was adapted from a 1954 teleplay, which was later produced as a feature film in 1957 called 12 Angry Men. The film was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and starred Henry Fonda, Lee J. Cobb and Jack Klugman among others. A compelling remake came out in 1997, starring Jack Lemmon, George C. Scott, Courtney B. Vance, Edward James Olmos, Hugh Cronyn, and more. The play was first staged in London, and finally came to Broadway in 2004. A more recent adaption of the play is 12 Angry Jurors, enabling theatre companies to have roles for more than one gender.

“We all know that if someone is accused of a crime, they have the right to be tried by a jury of their peers,” said Jennifer Finetti, Ghostlight’s marketing & media director. “But if you were accused of committing a heinous crime, if your life was on the line, would you trust a jury to deliberate the facts and evidence to come up with a just result? And if you were a member of a jury, making a life or death decision about someone else’s fate, would you trust yourself to make the right decision?”

Ghostlight’s artistic director, Kathryn Lopez, is grateful to see a return to local indoor live theatre after a long absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the past year and a half, Ghostlight has kept the light on local live theatre with our youth academy productions of Heroes & Villains and The Wind in the Willows, as well as an outdoor performance of Vintage Murder, and our first Zoom production, Vintage Hitchcock,” said Lopez. “It hasn’t been easy, but thanks to the support of this community, we’ve survived, and are so excited to bring this thought-provoking play to our audience.”

Lopez is also pleased that this show brings both new and returning faces to the Ghostlight family.

“The director of 12 Angry Jurors, Salim Razawi, has directed shows for theatre companies throughout the East Bay, including for Contra Costa Civic Theatre and Berkeley Playhouse,” Lopez said. “He’s also a teaching artist with experience teaching youth programs, improv and Shakespeare, with stints at ACT and Berkeley Rep. We also stepped up our efforts to reach underserved and marginalized communities during the audition process, and are so glad that our efforts were worthwhile, helping our cast to be more reflective of the communities we serve throughout the Delta region.”

The standout cast includes Heather Taylor (Foreperson), Corey Navarro (Guard) and Juhandryn Dessames, David Ghilardi, Nancy Hemsley, Robert Marcus, Chuck Phalen, Linda Pauline, Troy Pauline, Lucy R. Rodriguez, Natalie Tichenor, Amy Waldeigh and Michael Wilson (jurors).

Lopez notes that the cast and crew are fully vaccinated, and masks have been worn during rehearsals except when publicity photos were taken. Per Contra Costa County guidelines, during live performances, cast members may perform without masks, but audience members do need to wear masks to ensure the health and safety of all in attendance.

Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors, and $18 for youth. Per Contra Costa County guidelines, all persons age 12 or older must show proof of vaccination upon entry.

Negative COVID tests are not accepted. Masks will be required for all audience members, regardless of age or vaccination status. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.ghostlightte.org/tickets.html.

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