Twelve Angry Men | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

Twelve Angry Men 

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Reginald Rose's 1954 TV drama, depicting the verbal battles of a dozen jurors deciding a murder case, offered a McCarthy-era civics lesson on the power of dissent against mean-spirited groupthink. This touring edition of the Roundabout Theatre Company's 2004 Broadway revival is an unabashed period piece: its all-white, all-male, cigarette-puffing cast vent racial, social, and political prejudices against "bleeding hearts," "intellectuals," and "them." But the message that an individual of conscience can change the mind of a mob is timeless. Starring as the determined dissenter, Richard Thomas (unlike Henry Fonda in the 1957 movie) unfortunately eschews soft-spoken intelligence in favor of the same noisy argumentativeness as his onstage opponents. The result comes off like the Fox News Channel talk show from hell. --Albert Williams a Through 2/11: Thu 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 2 and 8 PM, Sun 2 PM, LaSalle Bank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe, 312-902-1400, $18-$65. C

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