Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen’s chilling drama The Exonerated will return to off-Broadway's 45 Bleeker Street in honor of the play’s 10th anniversary. Directed by Bob Balaban, the Culture Project production will begin performances September 15 featuring a rotating cast, including Tony winner Stockard Channing, Brooke Shields and two-time Tony winner Brian Dennehy. Sunny Jacobs, whose own experience inspired the show, is scheduled to join the cast from September 25 through 30. Additional casting will be announced shortly.
The Exonerated is a dramatization of the real-life stories of six individuals who were sentenced to death and later freed due to overwhelming evidence of their innocence. The production is culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and court records of individuals on death row. The Exonerated premiered at Culture Project in October 2002 where it ran for over 600 performances. The rotating cast included Mary J. Blige, Gabriel Byrne, Mia Farrow, Jeff Goldblum, Mariska Hargitay, Lyle Lovett, Alanis Morisette, Lynn Redgrave, Susan Sarandon, Shields, Marlo Thomas, Robin Williams and more.
Channing earned a Tony Award for Joe Egg and additional nominations for Other Desert Cities, Pal Joe, The Lion in Winter, Four Baboons Adoring the Sun, Six Degrees of Separation and The House of Blue Leaves. She has also appeared on Broadway in The Little Foxes and Love Letters. Her film and TV credits include The West Wing, Grease, Practical Magic and the 1993 film adaptation of Six Degrees of Separation. Shields’ Broadway credits include Grease, Chicago, Cabaret, Wonderful Town and The Addams Family. Her film and TV credits include Suddenly Susan, The Blue Lagoon, Lipstick Jungle, The Midnight Meat Train, Endless Love and Nip/Tuck. Dennehy received Tony Awards for Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Death of a Salesman. His additional Broadway credits include Inherit the Wind, Desire Under the Elms and Translations. His film and TV credits include First Blood, Foul Play, Cocoon, Best Seller, Ratatouille, Tommy Boy and the 2000 film adaptation of Death of a Salesman.
Jacobs was convicted, along with her husband, Jesse Tafero and friend Walter Rhodes, of murdering Florida state trooper Philip Black and Canadian constable Donald Irwin in 1976. After being sentenced to death, her ruling was overturned in 1981 and she received a life sentence. After pleading guilty to second-degree murder in 1992, Jacobs was released from prison.