John Grisham, the author of such Southern lawyer-in-peril bestsellers as "The Firm" and "The Pelican Brief," has seen seven of his legal thrillers turned into feature films. On Sunday, Grisham attended the opening of the first Broadway production based on one of his books, "A Time to Kill."
Published in 1989, "A Time to Kill" was Grisham's first novel. The story follows a young, relatively inexperienced attorney as he defends a father who killed the men who raped his daughter. The novel was made into a movie in 1996 with
The stage version of "A Time to Kill" was produced at the Arena Stage in
In what seems like a bit of marketing synergy, the New York production opened the same week as the release of Grisham's new novel, "Sycamore Row," which is a sequel to "A Time to Kill." The new book is scheduled to go on sale on Tuesday.
The Broadway ensemble cast includes
What did New York critics think of the play?
Charles Isherwood of the
Variety's Marilyn Stasio wrote that "there's a distinctly dated feeling to the material — not the topic of Southern racism, but the youthful idealism of its hero." Despite a sturdy cast and production, "this courtroom drama feels as if it were made for an earlier, less cynical era."
David Rooney of the
Newsday's Linda Winer wrote that show is "2-1/ 2 hours of competent acting and monotonous storytelling that seldom elevate the serious plot -- a black man shoots the white men who raped his 10-year-old daughter -- from the genre of theatrical hokum."