Published on September 4th, 2020 | by Guest Contributor


The Billie Holiday Theatre Presents “12 Angry Men…and Women: The Weight of the Wait” Starring Wendell Pierce, Lisa Arrindell and Billy Eugene Jones

On Saturday, September 12, 2020 at 8PM ET, The Billie Holiday Theatre presents its mainstage fall presentation for 2020 online with 12 Angry Men…and Women: The Weight of the Wait in partnership with The New Press with select stories from the 2012 edition of  the acclaimed 12 Angry Men: True Stories of Being a Black Man in America Today, as well as an original story that focuses on the killing of Breonna Taylor. The staged reading features Lisa Arrindell (The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Saints & Sinners, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Broadway), Billy Eugene Jones (A Soldier’s Play on Broadway and Much Ado About Nothing at Shakespeare in the Park), and Wendell Pierce (Death of a Salesman – London, The Wire, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, and Between the World and Me) with live music by renowned violinist, Daniel Bernard Roumain and a musical overture performed live by a quartet of New York Philharmonic musicians.

12 Angry Men…and Women will be streamed live via YouTube from New York City’s very first Black Lives Matter mural with 159 names of men, women, and children killed by acts of racially motivated violence. The mural is located on Fulton Street between New York and Brooklyn Avenues. With the challenges and uncertainty of COVID-19 and the ongoing racial injustices across the nation, The Billie brings these 12 stories to audiences in the community and online, allowing the Theatre to safely be able to serve its audiences and to continue to explore its foray into virtual storytelling.

12 Angry Men…and Women presents select stories of everyday people subjected to racial profiling, based upon the book edited by Gregory S. Parks and Matthew W. Hughey. While accounts of the stinging experience of racial profiling have been passed down as a contemptible legacy to generations of African American men, women, and children, recent high-profile cases have drawn outrage and protests across the country, challenging local and national politicians and law enforcement agencies to acknowledge the urgency of ongoing racial injustices

“When we presented these stories on the stage five years ago with an all-male cast…it was timely. The persistent killings of Black women…Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor….and our Black Trans sisters….Riah Milton and Dominique Fells…and others….warrants the same level of outrage and illumination.” stated Dr. Indira Etwaroo, Executive Artistic Director, The Billie Holiday Theatre. “The Billie will continue to innovate in response to the converging pandemics that disproportionately impact the lives of Black people in this country with works like 12 Angry Men…and Women. Our stories are our salvation.”

“I am honored to return to The Billie Holiday Theatre. As an actor, performing these stories that illuminate systemic racial injustices in this country on the site of NYC’s first Black Lives Matter mural in the largest community of African Americans in the country – Central Brooklyn – is a statement,” shared Tony Award-winner Wendell Pierce. “The statement is pure and it is simple: the fight for injustice has been centuries-long, but we will not cease to fight until all Black lives matter.”

Inspired by the public art piece in Washington D.C., more than 100 Brooklyn-based artists and community members created New York City’s first Black Lives Matter street art mural in the Bed-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn. Organized by The Billie Holiday Theatre, artistic anchor to the largest African American community in the nation, and Council Member Robert E. Cornegy, Jr., the massive 565 feet mural now spans Fulton Street between Marcy Avenue and Brooklyn Avenue. In addition to “BLACK LIVES MATTER, the mural includes a particularly poignant and unique detail with 20 traffic yellow bars, representing the year 2020 and a row of caskets, with  the names of the victims of police brutality and racially-motivated killings in this country from Emmett Till to George Floyd, Dominique Fells, and Breonna Taylor.

Since its inception in 1972, The Billie, as it is affectionately known, has continued to reinforce its role as a leader in presenting and championing Black Theater and as a vital resource for its surrounding Bedford Stuyvesant community.

Live Stream Information

12 Angry Men…and Women: The Weight of the Wait will premiere on Saturday, September 12, beginning at 7:30PM ET with members of the New York Philharmonic presenting an Overture with the reading beginning at 8PM ET via The Billie Holiday Theatre’s YouTube Channel

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