By: Christopher TrelaAttending a play or concert with a friend is always fun, but what happens when you get nine neighborstogether and make a group trip to Laguna Playhouse to watch a weekend matinee performance of “TwelveAngry Men?”Last Saturday, nine neighbors (including me) who frequently meet with our dogs at a local park left ourpooches at home and made the trek to Laguna Beach to enjoy a production of the classic 1954 play“Twelve Angry Men,” a courtroom drama written by playwright Reginald Rose in which a dozen jurorsdecide the fate of a young man accused of murder. What will the verdict be?This suspenseful (and occasionally funny)thriller pits passionate jurors against one anotherin a surprisingly timely examination of theAmerican justice system while exploringpersonal prejudices that society still grappleswith today.Rose wrote “Twelve Angry Men” after his stinton jury duty in New York. His well-written playobviously struck a nerve: he won an EmmyAward for the TV version of “Twelve AngryMen,” and received an Academy Awardnomination for the 1957 film version starringHenry Fonda.The Laguna Playhouse production, which runs through Oct. 22, features 12 actors who have a variety ofTV, stage and film work in their thespian hats, experience that lends itself well to the challenges of asingle-set drama that was penned more than 60 years ago.It was with great anticipation that we nine theater lovers took our seats as the lights dimmed. We were notdisappointed—in fact, you could say we were thrilled by the production, which runs 100 minutes with nointermission so the tension remains high the entire time.LETTERS TO THE EDITOR gh with Peotter Letter to the Editor: Peotter Flip-Flops on Issues Letter to the Editor: We Cannot Afford More of Scott Peotter Op-Ed: Lessons Learned FroPAGE ONE FORUM LIFESTYLE COMMUNITY STEPPING OUT EAT + DRINK SPORTS CALENDAR STOREAbout Us Advertise Coastal Real Estate Guide Visit Newport Beach Magazine Business Directory! Digital Edition Contact LoginWe, and the rest of the nearly sold-out audience, gave theperformance a hearty standing ovation at its conclusion.We strolled downtown to The Lumberyard Restaurant to grabdinner and discuss the play. We agreed that it was a fabulousproduction, mainly because the actors created convincingcharacters and the play built in suspense minute by minute.“I thought the actors came alive as real people—very believable,” stated Pam Logan, while her husbandPeter noted that “the play had the intensity needed to do the old classic justice. I was pleased with thediversity of the cast and the high level of experienced actors they chose. Well done!”“We sat spellbound from beginning until end,” added Don Wittenberg. “Each member of the cast WAS thecharacter, displaying his courage, prejudices or inner demons. The play is so well written with keyevidence revealed gradually and then argued. Magnificent!”We also agreed that the themes of racial intolerance and bigotry that crept into the play are (unfortunately)as timely now as they were in the 1950s.Lumberyard was also a hit. We ordered the famous Planks (deep fried zucchini) to start, then a variety ofsalads, burgers, meatloaf and ahi tuna sandwiches. The portions are so generous at Lumberyard thatseveral people in our group asked for doggie bags (which means our spoiled dogs got even more spoiledthat night).By the way, the cast of “Twelve Angry Men” features formerLaguna Playhouse artistic director Andy Barnicle convincinglyplaying the role of an elderly juror, Daniel Berlin (“Hairspray,”Laguna Playhouse), Richard Burgi (“The Sentinel,” “DesperateHousewives”), John Colella (“Revolver” at CelebrationTheatre, “Niagara Falls” at Theatre of NOTE), Rick Cosnett(“The Flash”), Seamus Dever (“Castle”), Matthew Henerson(“Ah, Wilderness” at A Noise Within), Mueen Jahan (“BombayDreams” on Broadway), John Massey (“The Odd Couple” at Laguna Playhouse), David Nevell (“Peterand the Starcatcher,” “Arms and the Man” at South Coast Rep), Erik Odom (“Twilight Saga: BreakingDawn – Part 2”), Dennis Renard (“Othello” and “Proof” at UCLA) and Tony Sancho (“Hephaistos” at theGetty Villa).Bravo to them all!