Every day is opening night.

Culture Project Announces Complete Cast for ‘The Exonerated” Beginning 9/15

Rick Miramontez / Philip Carrubba

rick@oandmco.com   / philip@oandmco.com








 “T H E   E X O N E R A T E D”
















New York, NY (September 10, 2012) – Culture Project (Allan Buchman, Founder & Artistic Director), has announced the complete cast of the 10th anniversary production of the hit, award-winning play, The Exonerated, written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, presented in special association with The Innocence Project

Directed by Bob Balaban (Gosford Park), the core non-rotating company of six will include Jim Bracchitta (Gypsy) as Prosecutor 2. Amelia Campbell (Our Country’s Good, A Streetcar Named Desire) as Sandra Cook, Bruce Kronenberg as Prosecutor 1, Curtis McClarin (Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk) as David Keaton, April Yvette Thompson (Clybourne Park) as Georgia Hayes, and JD Williams (“The Wire,” “Oz”) as Robert Earl Hayes.  They will be joined by rotating cast members Stockard Channing, Brian Dennehy, Steve Earle, John Forté, K’naan, Delroy Lindo, Lyle Lovett, Chris Sarandon and Brooke Shields. Exoneree Sunny Jacobs, whose story is shared within the play, joins the cast for one-week, September 25 – 30. 

Performances are set to begin this Saturday, September 15, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. for a limited seven-week  engagement through Sunday, November 4, 2012 at Culture Project (45 Bleecker Street at Lafayette Street).   Opening night is set for Wednesday, September 19, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.


2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Culture Project’s New York premiere of The Exonerated, a ground breaking dramatization of the real-life stories of six individuals who were sentenced to death and later freed amidst overwhelming evidence of their innocence.  It is a powerful play culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and court records of individuals on death row.  As timely as ever, The Exonerated is once again poised to increase visibility and to create a sense of urgency as part of a rising movement to restore justice to a system that has shown itself time and again to be deeply flawed.  Since 1989, when the first DNA exoneration took place, an additional 292 post-conviction DNA exonerations have been won in 36 states.


“When authors Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen — newly in love and wildly enthusiastic — first approached me with their idea for The Exonerated I got chills,” stated Allan Buchman, Culture Project Founder & Artistic Director.  He went on to add, “It occurred to me then that ideas like theirs were the reason to have a theater.  There are 2.4 million people in the American prison system — a population that is all but invisible to the general public.  The Exonerated, with its narrative of struggle courage and hope, sheds crucial light on elements of our criminal justice system that must be changed.  I believe that work this compelling can absolutely spur seismic and vital social change.  Yes, this is the reason to have a theater, and how lucky for us that we have our theater back!”


The Exonerated premiered at Culture Project in October 2002 when it received critical acclaim and ran for over 600 performances.  The New York Times declared, How often do you feel that what you are seeing is a matter of life and death?  Here we see six people who served hard, cruel time on death row before evidence proved them innocent.  The stage is courtroom and living room; these people are intrusting their lives to us.  Their stories intersect, but the differences between them strengthen the awful likeness that justice imposes when it is blind and deaf.”


The Exonerated received the Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Ovation, Fringe First and Herald Angel Awards, and was nominated for the Hull-Warriner Award and the John Gassner Playwriting Award.  It also received awards from Amnesty International, the American Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Death Penalty Focus, and Court TV, and was listed by the New York Times as “The Number 1 Play of 2002.”  It has been translated into Spanish, French, Italian and Japanese, and was made into an award-winning movie for Court TV adapted by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen , starring Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Brian Dennehy, Aidan Quinn and Delroy Lindo.



The Exonerated will play the following performance schedule:  Tuesday – Thursday at 8:00 p.m., Friday at 7:00 p.m., Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday at 3:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. Please note:  there is an added performance on Monday, September 17 at 8:00 p.m. and no performance on Thursday, September 20.

Weekly Post Performance Talkbacks are scheduled on Tuesday evenings hosted by Ron Tabak and Thursday evenings hosted by The Innocence Project.


Tickets are priced at $75 (Premium at $99), Sunday evenings at 7:00 p.m. at $37.50 (Premium at $50) with student tickets at $30 and available online at cultureproject.org or via phone by calling  OvationTix at (866) 811-4111.  $5 of every full price ticket ($75 & $99 level) will go to a fund for the exonerees.  For additional information, please send inquires to info@cultureproject.org, or call (212) 925-1806.




Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen (Authors) are actors, writers, and directors. They are writers of The Exonerated, and adapted the award-winning movie for television.  Their documentary play, Aftermath, was produced by NYTW in 2009 (directed by Jessica); it was a New York Times Critics’ Pick and nominated for two Drama League Awards.    As an actor Jessica appears regularly in CBS' fall 2012 series “Made in Jersey.”  Other TV: “Bored to Death,” “Rescue Me,” “Law And Order: CI,” and “The Bronx is Burning.”Film: The Namesake (dir. Mira Nair), You're Nobody Till Somebody Kills You  (prod. Spike Lee), The Exonerated, several indies including On the Road with Judas (Sundance) and Undermind.   Erik's TV credits include leads in 2012 NBC pilot “The Frontier.” 2009 Fox pilot “Virtuality” and 2008 TNT pilot “The Dark;” Thurman Munson in The Bronx is Burning,  also “NCIS: LA,” “CSI,” “Love Monkey,” “Law and Order: CI,” “Gravity,” “Lie to Me,” “Leverage,” “Alias,” and  “Century City.” Film: Black Knight, The Love Letter, and several indies.  Stage includes MTC, Public Theater.  Jessica's first novel, Almost Home (Hyperion, 2007) was optioned for feature film with Jessica and Erik adapting and Richard LaGravenese attached to direct. Her second novel, Karma for Beginners (Hyperion, 2009) is in development with Fox TV Studios, with Jessica and Erik adapting. Liberty City, a play Jessica co-wrote with April Yvette Thompson, ran Off-Broadway NYTW in 2008 (with Jessica directing), was nominated for Lucille Lortel, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle awards.  Erik's graphic novel The Reconcilers was published in 2010, and optioned for film with Erik attached to co-adapt and executive produce.  Jessica and Erik are developing a play based on the writings of rock critic Lester Bangs, in conjunction with the Lester Bangs estate.  They are married and live in Brooklyn and Los Angeles with their daughter Sadie.


Bob Balaban (Director) received a 2010 Emmy nomination for directing Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons in “Georgia O’Keeffe” (Lifetime). He received three 2008 Emmy Award nominations, two for directing and producing the HBO film “Bernard and Doris,” starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes, the third for his performance in “Recount.”  Other directing credits include The Last Good Time (starring Armin Mueller-Stahl and Maureen Stapleton) and Parents (with Randy Quaid and Sandy Dennis).  He produced and co-starred in the Academy and BAFTA award-winning film Gosford Park.  His acting career spans nearly one hundred films including Howl, Capote, A Mighty Wind, Ghost World, Best in Show, Cradle Will Rock, Waiting for Guffman, Absence of Malice, Prince of the City, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Catch-22, Midnight Cowboy, and, most recently, Moonrise Kingdom, directed by Wes Anderson.  His theatre appearances include Plaza Suite, The Inspector General (Tony Award nomination), Speed the Plow, You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Marie and Bruce, and Some Americans Abroad.  He directed and produced the original hit off-Broadway production of The Exonerated (Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, New York Times #1 Play, Fringe First Award at Edinburgh Fringe Festival) as well as the television version starring Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover.  His bestselling series of children’s books, McGrowl, sold over two million copies, and his new series, The Creature from the Seventh Grade, will be released by Viking/Penguin in September.


Culture Project is dedicated to addressing critical human rights issues by shining an artistic spotlight on injustice. By fostering innovative collaboration between human rights organizations and artists, they aim to inspire and impact public dialogue, encouraging democratic participation in the most urgent matters of our time.  Founded by Allan Buchman in 1996, Culture Project has premiered celebrated shows including The Exonerated, Sarah Jones’ Bridge & Tunnel, Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom, Lawrence Wright’s My Trip To Al-Qaeda, Tings Dey Happen, the Lucille Lortel Award-winning world premiere of George Packer’s Betrayed, and Temple University’s acclaimed production of In Conflict. Culture Project also produced Breaking the Silence, Beating the Drum, a groundbreaking concert at the United Nations to commemorate the abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. Most recently, Culture Project presented James X, directed by Gabriel Byrne and the revival of Rinde Eckert’s acclaimed And God Created Great Whales. In 2012, Culture Project celebrates its return to the theaters at 45 Bleecker Street.


The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University to assist prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. To date, 297 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 17 who served time on death row. These people served an average of 13 years in prison before exoneration and release. The Innocence Project’s full-time staff attorneys and Cardozo clinic students provide direct representation or critical assistance in most of these cases. The Innocence Project’s groundbreaking use of DNA technology to free innocent people has provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but instead arise from systemic defects. Now an independent nonprofit organization closely affiliated with Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, the Innocence Project’s mission is nothing less than to free the staggering numbers of innocent people who remain incarcerated and to bring substantive reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.


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