New Downtown Playhouse Staging “A Time to Kill”
John Grisham’s “A Time to Kill” will be the inaugural production at the new Downtown Playhouse in Pocahontas this summer. The play, based on Grisham’s bestselling novel, will be staged at the renovated theater starting July 25th.
“A Time to Kill” is the first of Grisham’s books to ever be adapted for the stage, and the Downtown Playhouse is one of only a handful of theatres to produce the play since it left Broadway in late 2013.
Carl Lee Hailey is a heartbroken black father who avenges his daughter’s brutal rape by shooting the bigoted men responsible for the crime as they are on their way to trial. He turns to Jake Brigance, an untested lawyer, to defend him. Brigance struggles to believe that he can get Hailey acquitted in this small, segregated Southern town, given Hailey’s race and the deliberate nature of his crimes, but Carl has unshakable faith in him.
The novel was adapted for the stage by Rupert Holmes. The Pocahontas production is directed by Kelly Grooms, who will also join the cast.
The large cast includes Walter Grooms of Pocahontas in the leading role of Carl Lee Hailey and David Early of Jonesboro as Jack Brigance. Others on the cast include Atalaya Meredith of Paragould, Derek Phelps of Pocahontas, Shelisha Laday of Pocahontas, Kenneth Benton of Corning, Conley Meredith of Paragould and several others.
Kelly Grooms manages the Downtown Playhouse and has overseen its elaborate rehabilitation. The stage and seating areas have been completely revamped over the past few months, and murals of famous Broadway productions adorn the interior walls.
Plays will feature a dessert and show format. Audience members can choose from a large variety of coffees, teas and desserts.
“A Time to Kill”, sponsored by Linda-Collins Smith & Phil Smith/Rock & Roll Hwy 67 Inn, will be staged weekends July 25 through August 29, with Sunday matinees on Aug 9 &16. Shows start at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 2:00 p.m. on Sundays. The $19.60 admission includes show, drink, dessert and tax.
The Downtown Playhouse is located at 302 N. Marr, which is a block north of the Pocahontas square. For more information, go to thedowntownplayhouse.com.