WORLD-PREMIERE STAGE ADAPTATION OF A TIME TO KILL
BRINGS JOHN GRISHAM’S BESTSELLING COURTROOM DRAMA
TO ARENA STAGE AT THE MEAD CENTER FOR AMERICAN THEATER
*** Announcing an illustrious cast and creative team for the final show of the 2010/11 inaugural season at the Mead Center,
adapted by Rupert Holmes, directed by Ethan McSweeny ***
(Washington, D.C.) What is the true meaning of justice? That is the question posed to audiences in A Time to Kill, the world premiere and first stage adaptation of a novel by John Grisham. By special arrangement with Daryl Roth and adapted for the stage by Tony Award winner Rupert Holmes (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), A Time to Kill brings the heat of the Deep South to Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater. Directed by Ethan McSweeny (Broadway’s Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man”), A Time to Kill runs May 6-June 19, 2011 in the Kreeger Theater.
“Producing a work that asks big questions about how we live in the world takes a dynamic team,” says Arena Stage Artistic Director Molly Smith. “Rupert Holmes and Ethan McSweeny are an ideal duo to take on this powerful courtroom drama. Daryl Roth, a committed and bold producer, brought this potential project to Arena over a year ago, and we have been thrilled to work together on the birth of this new play.”
The Cast of A Time to Kill features Sebastian Arcelus as the defendant’s attorney Jake Brigance (recently seen on Broadway starring in Elf and Jersey Boys), Dion Graham as Carl Lee Hailey (Marcus Gardley’s On the Levee at Lincoln Center), Rosie Benton as Jake’s youthful law clerk Ellen Roark (seen at Arena last season in Stick Fly and in Broadway’s Accent on Youth), Erin Davie as Jake’s wife Carla Brigance (Broadway’s A Little Night Music) and Brennan Brown as Rufus Buckley (The Persians in New York, dir. by McSweeny). The distinguished cast is rounded out by Jeffrey M. Bender, Trena Bolden Fields, Jonathan Lincoln Fried, Deborah Hazlett, Joe Isenberg, Chike Johnson, Michael Marcan, Hugh Nees, Evan Thompson and John C. Vennema.
A Time to Kill depicts a Mississippi town’s upheaval when Carl Lee Hailey takes the law into his own hands following an unspeakable crime committed against his daughter. Now on trial for murder, Carl Lee’s only hope lies with one young, idealistic lawyer Jake Brigance, who is outmatched by the formidable district attorney, Rufus Buckley, and under attack from both sides of a racially divided city.
“Growing up in D.C., quite a few of my formative theater experiences were at Arena Stage,” shares McSweeny, “so it is a special honor to be a part of the inaugural season in the beautiful new Mead Center. Inside the thriller that is A Time to Kill is an intriguing moral question: is vigilante justice ever permissible? And do we want to live in a world like that? I’m hoping audiences come away with not only a powerful piece of theater, but also something that will spark debate on the way home.”
“I’m tremendously excited to be working with this cast and this director in this remarkable venue,” says Holmes. “We all know John Grisham as the master of the legal thriller, but A Time to Kill was his first novel, his first literary child, a work of great passion and pungency. I hope this newly created play, a courtroom drama without boundaries, will intrigue, entertain and stimulate its world-premiere audience, causing them to consider what they would have done if they were the defendant—or his defenders—and how they would feel if they were his jury.”
Though written more than 20 years ago, the themes of justice and revenge expressed in A Time to Kill remain relevant in today’s world. Projections designed by Jeff Sugg and displayed on 1980s-type television sets reinforce the trial as a media sensation, and a turntable set designed by James Noone helps tell the story in and out of the courtroom.
The Creative Team of A Time to Kill includes Playwright Rupert Holmes, Director Ethan McSweeny, Set Designer James Noone, Costume Designer Karen Perry, Lighting Designer York Kennedy, Sound Designer Lindsay Jones, Projection Designer Jeff Sugg, Fight Director David Leong, Dialect Consultant Lynn Watson, Wig Designer Anne Nesmith, Interim Literary Manager Amrita Mangus, Script Wrangler Aaron Malkin, Associate Director Sarah Rasmussen, Associate Sound Designer Will Pickens, Stage Manager Susan R. White, Assistant Stage Manager Amber Dickerson, Production Assistant Marne Anderson, Stage Management Fellow Kristen Harris, Producing/Directing Fellow Pablo Halpern and NY Casting by Tara Rubin Casting.
Major production support provided by Hubert (Hank) & Charlotte Schlosberg, Pepco Holdings, Inc., and Andrew R. Ammerman and the Family of H. Max & Josephine F. Ammerman.
The Washington Post, WJLA and WTOP are the official media partners for A Time to Kill.
Tickets may be purchased online atwww.arenastage.org, by phone at 202-488-3300 or at the Sales Office at 1101 Sixth St., SW, D.C.