George Wendt Signs Up for Jury Duty on Twelve Angry Men National Tour

News   George Wendt Signs Up for Jury Duty on Twelve Angry Men National Tour Stage and screen star George Wendt joins Richard Thomas in the upcoming Roundabout Theatre Company national tour of Twelve Angry Men.

The national tour of the classic Reginald Rose jury-room drama as staged by Scott Ellis (Entertaining Mr. Sloane, The Little Dog Laughed) will launch from New Haven, Connecticut’s Shubert Theater Sept. 19.

The first touring production for the not-for-profit organization will continue across the country for a 30-week run. Other venues will include Washington D.C.' Kennedy Center, Baltimore's New Hippodrome (Oct. 24-Nov. 5), Minneapolis' Orpheum Theatre (Dec. 5-10), Atlanta's Fox Theatre (Jan. 2-7), Louisville's Palace (Jan. 9-14, 2007), Cincinnati's Aronoff Center for the Arts (Jan. 16-28, 2007), Chicago's LaSalle Bank Theatre, Houston's Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (Feb. 13-25, 2007), Seattle's Paramount Theatre (March 20-25, 2007), the Miami Performing Arts Center (May 15-21, 2007) and Philadelphia's Merriam Theatre.

Wendt — known to television audiences for his six-time Emmy Award-nominated turn as Norm Peterson from "Cheers" — will tackle Juror #1 opposite Thomas as Juror #8. Chicago's Second City veteran has appeared on stage in Art (on Broadway and in London) as well as A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and ABC's television musical "Bye Bye Birdie."

  Thomas — known for his Emmy Award-winning turn as John-Boy in "The Waltons" — recently appeared on Broadway in Roundabout's A Naked Girl on the Appian Way. Other stage credits include As You Like It, Democracy, The Stendahl Syndrome, Tiny Alice, Love Letters, The Front Page, Fifth of July and The Seagull.

The design team — from the original Broadway production — includes Allen Moyer (sets), Michael Krass (costumes), Paul Palazzo (lights) and Brian Ronan (sound). The Broadway run of Twelve Angry Men — a revival, though the first time the work has been staged on Broadway — began previews Oct. 1, 2004 and opened Oct. 28 at the American Airlines Theatre for a scheduled engagement through Dec. 19. The popular show, however, extended its run seven times before finally closing May 15, 2005.

Roundabout previously announced that Bill Kenwright (recently represented on Broadway by The Glass Menagerie and Primo) will team to present a production in London's West End in Fall 2006.

Set in a jury room,Twelve Angry Men tells the story of a murder trial in which a youth is alleged to have killed his father. The case seems like an open-and-shut situation as eleven of the unnamed jurors believe the defendant to be guilty. Juror #8, however, is not so certain, stirring up the room and setting off a number of arguments.

Twelve Angry Men proved the most popular Roundabout staging at the American Airlines Theatre since the company's reopening of the venue in 2000. The Rose drama outran the longest running production in the space by almost triple the performances: the 2001 revival of Clare Boothe Luce's The Women — starring Kristen Johnston, Cynthia Nixon and Jennifer Tilly played 77 show over 13 weeks. Twelve Angry Men will have played 229 performances in 32 weeks. (The former Selwyn Theatre was home to the long-running Edna Ferber and George S. Kaufman 1927 comedy The Royal Family which played 345 performances.)