Audience is the jury in Ayn Rand’s twisty courtroom drama ‘Night of January 16th’

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Night of January 16th is an entertaining courtroom drama where the defendant is on trial for a sordid murder while society’s sense of right and wrong is questioned.

Did industrialist Bjorn Faulkner commit suicide? Or was he murdered? And what happened to that missing $20 million?

Famous atheist Ayn Rand wrote the play in her 20s, shortly after escaping to the U.S. from Soviet Russia’s communist regime. The play explores several of Rand’s themes at the intersection of legality, morality and personal responsibility.

Darryl Robinson leads the talented cast, playing the prosecuting district attorney with style and wit.  Tony Cicchetti also shines in his role as gangster Lawrence “Guts” Regan. Erin Cote plays Karen Andre, the woman on trial with passion and grit. Norma Burgess as defense attorney holds the emotional center of the play. Tim Aberdeen brings his character Siegurd Jungquist alive in a minor role.

The rest of the cast is Jeff Zimmer, Gerrie Wilkowski, Lisa Cicchetti, Rod French, Tom Reilly, Terry Bratcher, Judith Miller, Lauren Waites, Stanley Brown and Therese Hawes, all adding color in supporting roles.

Filled with irony, humor and unexpected twists, the play moves quickly and is devoid of the rhetorical excesses of Rand’s later works. The audience acts as the jury which decides the trial’s outcome.

Director Jeff Zimmer and Producers Debbie Sadlouskos and Norma Burgess deliver with steady hands.

“Night of January 16th” is staged through Sunday, June 11th at the Lincoln Stegman Theatre located at 6020 Radford Ave. in North Hollywood. For information call (818) 509-0882.


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