Inspired by last fall's star-studded, all-female staged reading of Twelve Angry Men, Broadway producer Lauren Class Schneider is inviting women in law schools, universities, high schools, community and regional theatres, and community centers across the country to raise their voices—scripts in hand—in readings of Reginald Rose's play over the weekend of April 5-8. As with the 2018 reading, which was produced by Schneider, the national grassroots initiative is calling for all-female casts to perform the play, after which, there will be an opportunity for participants and audiences alike to update their voter registration.
The initiative is called 12,000 Voices, the idea being that if the play was performed in 1000 location, there would be 12,000 voices collectively. The performances will be presented as: 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,” says 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.”
In Twelve Angry Men, 11 jurors are convinced of an accused murderer's guilt, but one holdout convinces them to look at their consciences and prejudices. While written in 1954, the play only debuted on Broadway in a production from Roundabout Theatre Company in 2004 starring an all-male cast.
“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. "Right now, we are working with different groups across the country on their April 5-8th readings. I am excited to see how organizations across the country embrace, participate, and lend their voice with their own presentations!”