Culture Project (Allan Buchman, Founder & Artistic Director), celebrates its return to the theaters at 45 Bleecker Street with the award-winning 10th anniversary production of the hit 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 rotating cast will feature Stockard Channing, Brian Dennehy, John Forté, and Brooke Shields. Exoneree Sunny Jacobs, whose story is shared within the play, joins the cast for one-week, September 25 – 30. Additional casting will be announced shortly.
Performances begin are set to begin Saturday, September 15, 2012 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.
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 rotating cast of actors who have previously appeared in The Exonerated include Mary J. Blige, Gabriel Byrne, Mia Farrow, Jeff Goldblum, Mariska Hargitay, Lyle Lovett, Alanis Morisette, Lynn Redgrave, Susan Sarandon, Brooke Shields, Marlow Thomas, Robin Williams, among many others, and was performed at the United Nations and for Washington, D.C. audiences that included Senator Patrick Leahy, Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, Former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, Supreme Court Justice David Souter, and several members other the Justice Department.