The Drama Workshop Presents “Twelve Angry Men”

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The Drama Workshop opens its production of the riveting courtroom drama “Twelve Angry Men” on Friday, March 7. Pictured from left to right: Jim Meridieth (Juror 6), Glenn Schaich (Juror 7), Joe Ward (Juror 11), David Dreith (Juror 12), Joe Kozak (Juror 5), Chris Bishop (Foreman), Bill Keeton (Juror 8), David Levy (Juror 3), Doug Tumeo (Juror 2), Jack Williams (Juror 9), Ron Samad (Juror 10). Not pictured: Dick Bell (Juror 4), Ray Persing (Guard). Diana Daniels image.

(Cheviot, Ohio) The Drama Workshop, the award-winning community theater based at Cheviot’s Glenmore Playhouse, is excited to present the highly acclaimed courtroom drama, “Twelve Angry Men”, by Reginald Rose. The production is headed up by Don Volpenhein, and is produced by Betsy Obermeyer.

Before such programs as “CSI” and “Law and Order” became popular, “Twelve Angry Men” took us inside the courtroom. Originally aired as a live broadcast in 1954, “Twelve Angry Men” was quickly adapted to feature film in 1957, starring Henry Fonda, Jack Warden and Lee J. Cobb. The play and film have been restaged a number of times over the intervening 60 years, including a 1997 TV movie starring George C. Scott.

The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young man is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. Locked into the small, claustrophobic jury room on a stifling hot summer day until they come up with a unanimous decision, this compelling, provocative play examines the twelve men’s deep-seated personal prejudices, perceptual biases and weaknesses, personalities, cultural differences, ignorance and fears – all of which threaten to taint their decision-making abilities, cause them to ignore the real issues in the case, and potentially lead them to a miscarriage of justice. Persistently and persuasively, one solitary juror forces the other men to slowly reconsider and review the case against the endangered defendant. Heated discussions, the formation of alliances, the frequent re-evaluation and changing of opinions, votes and certainties, and the revelation of personal experiences, insults and outbursts fill the jury room throughout this gripping story.

Dick Bell plays Juror Number Four, and makes the trip to Cheviot from Fairfield to take his place in the jury room. “Occasionally we read or hear about a high profile court case and wonder how in the world the jury arrived at that verdict,” Dick observed. “Twelve Angry Men just might give us some insight into how the personalities and backgrounds of jurors along with their biases, hopes and fears come together to explain the deliberations and decisions that take place in the jury room. Ultimately it all leaves us asking how we would react if we were in their shoes.”

Director Don Volpenhein is at the head of his second show for The Drama Workshop, having previously directed “Lend Me a Tenor”.  Volpenhein is known across Cincinnati as a very fine actor, having appeared in shows as varied as “Bus Stop”, “To Kill a Mockingbird”, and “The Grapes of Wrath”, but he is also an outstanding director. “We were very lucky to get Don to direct this show,” offered TDW president Ray Persing. “He is widely acknowledged as one of the best in town. I’ve really enjoyed watching him work with the actors, pulling nuance out of the material that nobody else had seen. This is going to be an outstanding show!”

Cheviot resident Jim Meridieth plays Juror Number Six. “I am very impressed with the talent that surrounds me in this production,” he said. “Although it has been years since I have been on stage, I cannot recall being part of a process where each practice improved from each session to the next. Everyone has been very friendly, supportive, talented and professional.”

Bill Keeton, appearing as Juror Number Eight, agrees. “Don’s direction is an inspiring mix of guidance and suggestion, and the overall chemistry is electric. It’s been a great experience.”

Show dates for “Twelve Angry Men” are March 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 8 pm. Matinee performances will be offered on March 9, 16, and 23 at 2 pm. Tickets may be purchased through the TDW ticket line at 598-8303, or online at www.thedramaworkshop.org. All seats are $15.00. Sellout houses are occurring frequently, so reservations are strongly encouraged.

The Drama Workshop performs at The Glenmore Playhouse, formerly the Glenmore Bowl, at the corner of Glenmore and Gamble in the heart of the Cheviot Business District. There are many options for dinner and drinks within a short walk from the Playhouse. TDW received a prestigious Rehabilitation Award from the Cincinnati Preservation Association last November for their efforts to save the building from demolition and repurpose it. The Glenmore Playhouse also recently installed new theatrical seating for the audience’s comfort.

For more information, contact Ms. Gretchen Gantner at 513-470-5516, or groose1876@aol.com.
THE DRAMA WORKSHOP was founded in 1954. TDW is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to advancing education and promotion of the theatrical arts. Based at the newly renovated Glenmore Playhouse in Cheviot, The Drama Workshop is widely recognized as one of greater Cincinnati’s most accomplished community theater organizations, garnering dozens of awards annually from the Cincinnati Association of Community Theatres. TDW productions have been regularly selected to represent the Southwest Ohio region at the Ohio Community Theatre Association annual conference, and TDW was also honored to represent the state of Ohio at the American Association of Community Theatre conference in 2013. Prospective members, and individuals or businesses interested in becoming involved or in helping advance TDW’s mission are encouraged to contact the group through our website at www.thedramaworkshop.org, or by phone at 513-598-8303.

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