“12 Angry Jurors” brings social justice issues to CPA stage


Lana Abdallah

The cast performs in “12 Angry Jurors” at the CPA.

Lana Abdallah, Phoenix Staff writer

Governors State University’s Center for Performing Arts presented “12 Angry Jurors” from April 7 – 9. The play, based on the Emmy Award winning television movie by Reginald Rose, starred a student and staff cast. Adapted by Sherman L. Sergel and directed by Patrick Santoro, the play follows the 12 members of a jury during a murder trial.  

The jurors bring their own biases and life experiences into the deliberations of the guilt or innocence of a 19-year-old charged with stabbing his father to death.  

As the 12 men and women try to reach a unanimous decision sequestered from the court and outside influences. The jurors seem headed for a unanimous guilty verdict until one juror (played by Darius Jackson) begins to find doubt in the elements presented by the prosecution, leading to conflict among the members.  

Personal issues and prejudices slowly emerge as we begin to hear more from each member of the jury, threatening the panel’s ability to reach a decision in the case. 

The play explores the themes of social justice as we see examples of prejudice, class, race, and the idea of justice come into play. The freedom of democracy becomes central to the plot as beliefs and opinions begin to shift once more questions and information are put to the forefront. Each character brings their own identity to the table, giving the viewer many different lenses to look through for the case at hand.  

Director Patrick Santoro details the rendition of this story and the aim of choosing this play in 2022.  

“Sixty-five years ago, when the play was written, and the 21st century here and now,” Santoro said. “Our intention is to draw connections between the historical and the contemporary to facilitate conversation about where we have been, where we are, and point toward where we may be headed. What has changed? What has stayed the same?”  

When asked about her experience of being in the play and what it meant, Dr. Kerri Morris (juror 4) explained, “For me, GSU’s 12 ‘Angry Jurors’ brought up issues central to social justice, from race and ethnicity to class and power… throughout rehearsals  for the show I kept thinking about why each of us (jurors) was angry. I think we need to talk more about how to participate in democracy.”  

“I am grateful to do this work,” Santoro said. “ I am fortunate to share in this endeavor with a committed cast, crew, and design team who have given their time and talents to a story they believe needs to be told right now.”  


The cast included:  

Foreperson – Kimelia R. Carter 

Juror 2- Manuel Reza 

Juror 3- Marquis Parks  

Juror 4 – Kerri K Morris 

Juror 5- Xavier Thompson  

Juror 6- Eboni MaJoney Williams  

Juror 7- Jazmin Butler 

Juror 8- Darius Jackson  

Juror 9- Lynne Clayton 

Juror 10- David Niemeyer  

Juror 11- Ellen Dillon 

Juror 12- Dakota Keel 

Guard – Ethan Moore-Walker