Oscar winner Richard Dreyfuss, film and theatre's Jill Clayburgh and TV's Sara Gilbert bring to life the trials and tribulations of convicted, but innocent prisoners and their loved ones in the Off-Broadway bow of The Exonerated, opening Oct. 10 at 45 Bleecker Street. Filmdom's Bob Balaban ("Gosford Park," "Best in Show") directs.
Dreyfuss, starring as the convicted, but innocent Kerry Max Cook, who served 22 years before he was freed, won an Oscar for "The Goodbye Girl" and was again nominated in 1996 for "Mr. Holland's Opus." Clayburgh, playing Sunny Jacobs, who served more than 15 years for the death of a cop she did not kill, has performed on Broadway in Pippin and The Rothschilds. She replaces Kyra Sedgwick in the cast. Gilbert, best known for her role as Darlene on "Roseanne," has recently appeared in "High Fidelity" and "Riding in Cars With Boys." She plays Sue Gauger, wife of former prisoner Gary Gauger, and two other roles.
Also in the cast are Charles Brown (Delbert Tibbs), David Brown (Robert Hayes), Bruce Kronenberg (ensemble), Phil Levy (ensemble), Curtis McClarian (David Keaton) and April Thompson (Georgia Hayes).
The Exonerated features a half-dozen former death row inmates who have shared a variety of experiences and feelings with playwrights Blank and Jensen. Most describe losing their faith in the justice system, while discovering that it was the resources available to a defense team that made the difference between achieving justice or experiencing a miscarriage of it.
Tickets are $55. 45 Bleecker is located at 45 Bleecker Street. For reservations, call (212) 307-4100. — By Christine Ehren