Friday, April 13, 2012

12 Angry Men performed in West Jordan

So it's been too too long and I didn't want everyone to be mad at me, but that's how it goes sometimes.

I know, I wanted to update a couple of things on here... at least as far as my acting goes anyhow. I repeated my role as Jacob Marley at Hale in 2011, and will probably be back for my 3rd stint this year.

In March I got the opportunity to perform in my very first leading role in the play, 12 Angry Men by Reginald Rose. I was Juror #8 (yes that's the part that Henry Fonda played in the 1957 version and Jack Lemmon played in the 1997 version.) I really enjoyed the films, but the script we used was based on the teleplay that was aired on Studio One in 1954. There is no swearing in it, you never know what most of the guys did for a living, there was no bathroom, and you never knew what ethnicity the boy on trial is.

I might be getting ahead of myself here, because there are a bunch of people who don't even know what 12 Angry Men is all about. So here's the quick version - 12 men in a Jury on a murder case, are in a jury room voting on whether or not to send a poor 19 year old boy to the electric chair after being accused of stabbing his father in the chest with a switchknife. It seems like a pretty easy call, there were two witnesses that said they saw and heard the boy kill his father, but one juror thinks that it's possible that they could be wrong.

I highly recommend seeing it, no matter what version you see. I even heard there is a Russian version of it out on DVD now. That's the only version I have yet to see at this point. That being said, my favorite version is the play. (I know, I'm probably biased, but there are just too many elements that make live theatre that much better.)

The play is written to have 3 acts, but we performed the play straight through without an intermission. I really felt it was better that way anyhow, since the total time of the show was about 80 minutes. What an amazing production it was too. From beginning to end, it was one of the most incredible experiences I've had in a play. Every single member of the cast was stellar! The first read through was something that could have been done on stage to an audience as a readers theatre and it would have been awesome! The director JC Carter, and producers Vic and Michele Groves really put a great bunch of guys together for this play. The only thing I could complain about on this production was that I wished there were more performances. We only had 6 and we sold out nearly every one. One night we had 10 empty seats, but on closing night we had to shrink the stage to fit in an extra row of chairs to fit everyone that wanted to come see it! For being a tense drama there was quite a bit of comic moments in the play, in fact one night we walked off the stage and felt like we could be nominated for comedy of the year.

We even had some great reviews. Backstage Utah said, "The standout performances belonged to Juror #8 (Anthony Lovato) and Juror #3 (Criss Rosenlof). Juror #8 is the last man standing, the only man who has reasonable doubt and shoulders the responsibility of educating the rest of the men. Mr. Lovato carries that responsibility with pride, and it shows in his performance. He found all the moments within the script where the character subtly grows and shares knowledge with others. I genuinely felt Mr. Lovato grow as an actor during this production." Utah Theatre Bloggers Association said, "I was also very impressed to see a full cast of, well, twelve men. This is not an easy show to cast for amateur groups, but there are some strong performances here. Particular standouts include Anthony L. Lovato as Juror #8, the one man who is brave enough to act on a feeling of reasonable doubt in a case everyone else sees as open and shut. Lovato’s performance is one of compassion and thoughtfulness; Juror #8 wants to do right, and I was cheering for him making hard choices all evening."

That show isn't easy if you have one really weak link. No chance to go off stage and regroup, no room for error really, everyone on that stage had to know all their lines and , pretty much, everyone elses. One mess up and we had to have someone pick up that line or figure out how to move on from there. Here is a list of those 12 other amazing Angry Men:

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