Hip-Hop Songstress Mary J. Blige Adds More Drama to The Exonerated, Feb. 24-29

News   Hip-Hop Songstress Mary J. Blige Adds More Drama to The Exonerated, Feb. 24-29 Hip-hop diva Mary J. Blige will make her stage debut in the Off-Broadway drama The Exonerated. The songstress will perform in the Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen-penned work, Feb. 24-29.

Blige is known for her soulful renditions of such songs as "Real Love," "Sweet Thing" and the title track from her debut album "What's the 411?" Discovered by soon-to-be Broadway star Sean "P. Diddy" Combs (Raisin in the Sun) in his early years (then known as "Puffy"), the singer became known for her mix of hip-hop, soul and R&B sound — earning her the moniker the "Queen of hip-hop soul." Other songs include "Not Gon' Cry," "Love Is All We Need," "No More Drama," "I'm Going Down" and "Dance for Me."

Off-Broadway's The Exonerated, recently confirmed that it will end its run at 45 Bleecker Theatre. The show will continue to sell tickets through March 7 while a decision about the closing date is being made.

Drawn from interviews of forty former death row inmates by playwrights Blank and Jensen, The Exonerated explores the variety of experiences and feelings of those who spent from 2 to 22 years imprisoned only to be later by found innocent and released. Bob Balaban (the actor seen in "A Mighty Wind") directs.

The production raised $300,000 in donations in its first year for the six exonerees, portrayed in the play, who received no remuneration after being released from prison. The work has garnered a number of awards including a Lucille Lortel Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Drama Desk Award. Regional productions and a current national tour have also brought the drama across the country.

The Exonerated is produced by The Culture Project, Dede Harris, Morton Swinsky, Bob Balaban, Allan Buchman, Patrick Blake, David Elliott, Jane Bergere, Ruth Hendel and Cheryl Wiesenfeld. Past cast members of this run have included Eric Bogosian, Peter Boyle, Josh Brolin, Avery Brooks, Gabriel Byrne, Robert Carradine, Judy Collins, Tim Daly, Kristin Davis, Fran Drescher, Richard Dreyfuss, Cary Elwes, Mia Farrow, Peter Gallagher, Sara Gilbert, Jeff Goldblum, Tony Goldwyn, Mariska Hargitay, Sarah Jones, Anthony Michael Hall, Marcia Gay Harden, Anne Jackson, Carol Kane, Christine Lahti, Chad Lowe, Andrea Martin, Andrew McCarthy, Esai Morales, Alanis Morisette, Rob Morrow, Joe Morton, Bebe Neuwirth, Rhea Perlman, Amanda Plummer, Aidan Quinn, Lynn Redgrave, Eric Roberts, Richard Schiff, Kyra Sedgwick, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, John Spencer, Mary Steenburgen, Fisher Stevens, Susan St. James, Marlo Thomas, Kathleen Turner, Ben Vereen, Montel Williams and Debra Winger.

The Exonerated plays at Off-Broadway's 45 Bleecker, where it opened Oct. 10, 2002. The theatre is located at 45 Bleecker Street. For reservations, call (212) 307 4100. For more information, visit www.45bleecker.com.