The play, which will officially open Oct. 20, has the distinction of being the first-ever Grisham property to be adapted for the stage. Ethan McSweeny directs.
The starry company features Tom Skerritt, Patrick Page, Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins, Chike Johnson, Ashley Williams, Dashiell Eaves, J.R. Horne, John Procaccino, Tijuana Ricks, Lee Sellars, Sebastian Arcelus, Fred Dalton Thompson and John Douglas Thompson.
The casting breakdown follows: Sebastian Arcelus as Jake Brigance; Dashiell Eaves as Pete Willard/DR Musgrove; J.R. Horne as Mr. Pate; Chike Johnson as Ozzie Walls, Patrick Page as Rufus Buckley; Tonya Pinkins as Gwen Hailey; John Procaccino as Drew Tyndale/WT Bass; Tijuana Ricks as Court Reporter; Tom Skerritt as Lucien Wilbanks; Lee Sellars as Cobb/Rhodeheaver/Grist; Fred Dalton Thompson as Judge Noose; John Douglas Thompson as Carl Lee Hailey; and Ashley Williams as Ellen Roark.
A Time to Kill, the popular courtroom drama, "tells the emotionally charged, now-iconic story of a young, idealistic lawyer, Jack Brigance, defending a black man, Carl Lee Hailey, for taking the law into his own hands following an unspeakable crime committed against his young daughter," according to press notes. "Their small Mississippi town is thrown into upheaval, and Jake finds himself arguing against the formidable district attorney, Rufus Buckley, and under attack from both sides of a racially divided city. This drama is a thrilling courtroom battle where the true nature of what is right and what is moral are called into question."
In association with Roth, Arena Stage in Washington, DC, gave Holmes' adaptation its world premiere in May 2011. McSweeny directed there as well.
“Master storytellers are masterful dramatists of the stage on the page, and the thrill of bringing John Grisham's vivid cast of remarkable characters and his riveting American classic of race and justice to Broadway is the stuff that any playwright's dreams are made of,” said playwright Holmes in an earlier statement. “I'm particularly thrilled that Daryl Roth and Eva Price have brought such magnetic, compelling actors into A Time to Kill's dramatic arsenal.”
“For almost a quarter of a century, 'A Time to Kill' has captivated readers with its raw exploration of race, retribution and justice,” said Grisham in an earlier statement. “It was my first book and the first that I have allowed to be adapted for the theatre. Rupert Holmes did an excellent job of translating it from the page to the stage, and I am happy that not only my loyal readers, but a whole new audience will be able to experience this story in live theatre. I am looking forward to opening night on Broadway!”
“John Grisham’s endlessly gripping, perfectly-plotted storytelling is so well suited for the live theater, and we are thrilled to be bringing this first-ever stage adaptation of one his novels to Broadway,” added Roth and Price. “Rupert Holmes has written an adaptation that masterfully replicates for theatergoers the page-turning thrill of reading a Grisham novel, while also honoring the powerful intimacy of its exploration of the injustices of our not-so-distant past. We look forward to audiences of all ages experiencing its essential message of equality, justice, and compassion for all.”
PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: Backstage at Arena Stage's A Time to Kill With Sebastian Arcelus and Erin Davie