One of the most gripping and timeless courtroom dramas of all time will be presented May 3, 4, and 5, at the Country Gate Playhouse, 114 Greenwich Street, Belvidere, New Jersey.

Written by Reginald Rose, '12 Angry Jurors' was first presented as a television play in 1954, under the title '12 Angry Men'.

The following year it was adapted for the stage and in 1957 was made into a critically acclaimed film with Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb.'12 Angry Jurors' has been a favorite play of mine for a very long time," says director Bill Scurato.

"I find the premise compelling— all of these jurors; some opinionated, some committed to their task, some just going through the motions — are thrown together to decide if a man will live or die. The play examines how the process affects each of them," he added.

Originally set in the 1950s, the once all male play has been updated to take place in the current day, with a diverse cast of men and women. Jurors

The show opens with the jury entering a room to deliberate a young man's fate. What begins as an open-and-shut case of murder soon becomes a detective story that presents a succession of clues creating doubt.

As the audience we also become aware of each of the jurors' prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other.

While 11 of the jurors are initially convinced of the defendant's guilt, juror #8 believes there is reasonable doubt and works to win over the others.

Throughout the deliberation, no one is referred to by name because the names are unknown.

The jurors are forced to investigate the reasons behind their rush to judgement, and the biases that each has brought to the table.Craig Evans, of Blairstown, plays the role of juror #8, the only one who votes "not guilty" at the first vote. Unhappy with how the trial was conducted, he wants the jury to discuss the evidence in detail. Met with much opposition, he continuously raises the notion of reasonable doubt.

Dan Mazellis, of Phillipsburg, plays juror #3, the lead antagonist in the play. He is a bully who is convinced of the defendant's guilt. He uses his outsized personality to keep the other jurors voting guilty. He has no problem intimidating anyone who thinks differently.

Each of the remaining jurors, with his or her varying backgrounds and preconceived beliefs, has an impact on the tenor and direction of the deliberations.

On stage for almost the entire play, the remaining jurors are played by Colleen Capponi, of East Stroudsburg (#1 foreman); Cailla Minerowicz, of Califon (#2); Glen Krühm, of Belvidere (#4); Yvette Cerrada-Shapiro, of Belvidere (#5); Hugh Halsey, of East Stroudsburg (#6); Mike Wetmore, of Stroudsburg (#7); Cindi Halkola, of Belvidere (#9); Steve Henley, of Washington (#10); Kathleen Cavallaro, of Belvidere (#11); and Sam Levisay, of Phillipsburg (#12). Carissa Encke, of Phillipsburg plays the guard.

Scurato notes that the play remains relevant.

"Most of the jurors choose similar minded allies. Battle lines are then drawn. The level of vitriol is very close to the political climate we are experiencing today."

All seats for 12 Angry Jurors are reserved and available at