Marg Helgenberger, Christine Lahti, Martin Short and More Join Cast of Exonerated Anniversary Production
By Andrew Gans
Additional cast members have been announced for The Culture Project's 10th anniversary production of Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's The Exonerated, which officially opened in its limited engagement Off-Broadway Sept. 19 following previews that began Sept. 15. Performances will continue through Nov. 4.
Presented in association with The Innocence Project and directed by Bob Balaban, the core non-rotating company of six includes Jim Bracchitta as Prosecutor 2, Amelia Campbell as Sandra Cook, Bruce Kronenberg as Prosecutor 1, Curtis McClarin as David Keaton, April Yvette Thompson as Georgia Hayes and JD Williams as Robert Earl Hayes.
Newly announced rotating cast members include Steve Earle, John Forté, Kathryn Grody, Marg Helgenberger, Christine Lahti, Richard Masur, Joe Morton, Martin Short, Danton Stone and Frank Whaley as well as exoneree Kerry Max Cook, whose story is shared in the play.
The newest members of the rotating cast will appear as follows:
Oct. 9-14: John Forté, Kathryn Grody, Richard Masur, Danton Stone
Oct. 16-21: Kerry Max Cook, Steve Earle, Joe Morton, Martin Short (Short will appear as Kerry Max Cook for three performances only Oct. 16, 17 and 18; Cook will portray himself Oct. 19, 20 and 21)
Oct. 23-28: Christine Lahti, Joe Morton, Frank Whaley
Oct. 30 – Nov. 4: Marg Helgenberger, Joe Morton, Chris Sarandon (returns)
2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Culture Project’s 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," according to press notes. It is billed as "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," Allan Buchman, Culture Project founder and artistic director, said in a previous statement. "It occurred to me then that ideas like theirs were the reason to have a theatre. 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.
Show times are Tuesday-Thursday at 8 PM, Friday at 7 PM, Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 3 PM and 7 PM.
Tickets are priced at $75, with student tickets at $30, and available online at cultureproject.org or via phone by calling OvationTix at (866) 811-4111. Culture Project is located at 45 Bleecker Street at Lafayette Street.
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