|Brian Dennehy, Delroy Lindo and Stockard Channing. Photo: Carol Rosegg|
By Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen
Directed by Bob Balaban
Presented by Culture Project, in special association with The Innocence Project
What's it about?
This 10th anniversary production of the play tells the stories of six people who are convicted of crimes they didn't commit because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time or because of their race. Sentenced to death row, they later are found to be innocent by means of DNA testing and other overwhelming evidence. Presented in reading style, the actors sit at music stands holding the scripts and perform dialogue entirely taken from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and court records. Celebrities including Brian Dennehy, Stockard Channing, Brooke Shields, John Forté and Delroy Lindo rotate to join the cast of Jim Bracchitta, Amelia Campbell, Bruce Kronenberg, Curtis McClarin, April Yvette Thompson, JD Williams (see below for the performers' schedules.) It's gripping and as timely as it was when first presented.
What are the highlights?
There are some wonderful expressions of faith amidst the injustice. A collection is taken following the performance to benefit the victims represented in the play. The night I attended, the real Sunny Jacobs was on hand. Her story of being sentenced, along with her husband, Jesse, is one of the most moving. They correspond by love letters on death row. Lindo is brilliant as Delbert Tibbs, a poet on death row. The play will make you question the justice system and whether the death penalty should be allowed.
What are the lowlights?
It runs a little long -- a 90-minute runtime ran closer to 1:45.
The Exonerated is presented in a limited run through Nov. 4 at the Culture Project, 45 Bleecker St. at Lafayette Street, NYC. Tickets and information: http://cultureproject.org/
Rotating Cast schedule:
Christians also might like to know:
-- God's name taken in vain
-- Homosexual situations discussed
-- "N" word used