The Exonerated, March 8-10
February 24, 2012
Contact: University Relations
The Exonerated, Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen's play about six wrongly-convicted Americans who spent time on death row, will be presented by Spotlight UB on March 8-10 at 7 p.m. in the Lucy and Vernon Wright Theater in the University of Baltimore Student Center, 21 W. Mt. Royal Ave. In addition to the evening performances, a special afternoon matinee will be offered on Thursday, March 8 at 12:30 p.m. as part of the Hoffberger Center for Professional Ethics's annual event, Ethics Week. The Friday night performance will be followed by a talk back discussion of the death penalty, its complications and its impact on our sense of justice. (Attendance details below.)
This powerful piece of verbatim theatre will be directed by Rain Pryor, and will feature a mix of campus, local and professional actors in the cast, including Marianne Angelella, Chantia Jackson, Robert Neal Marshall, Jay Hargrove, Jason Tinney, Doug Goldman, and Brandon Tate. Written by Blank and Jensen after they attended a conference about the death penalty, The Exonerated stems from the duo listening to stories about wrongful convictions and confessions gained via torture, threats and deception. They spent the summer of 2000 interviewing exonerees throughout the United States, and six of those stories were adapted into the script. Jensen and Blank received the Champion of Justice Award from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and their play has been performed at the United Nations and in Washington, D.C., where audience members included Senator Patrick Leahy, former Attorney General Janet Reno, former U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, Supreme Court Justice David Souter, and several members of the Justice Department.
In 2002, Blank and Jensen were invited to present The Exonerated for Illinois Governor George Ryan, who at the time was considering whether to commute the sentences of more than 140 of the state's death row inmates. The audience for that performance included 40-plus exonerated death row inmates, along with the governor and several members of the Illinois state legislature. Ultimately, Ryan commuted the sentences of everyone on Illinois's death row or waiting to be sent there. In the wake of this development, a debate on the effectiveness of the death penalty has taken place all across the country.
Pryor is the daughter of legendary comedian Richard Pryor, and has held starring roles in Head of the Class and Showtime's Rude Awakening, along with guest appearances on The Division and Chicago Hope. Pryor's one-woman show, Fried Chicken and Latkes, is being prepared for its off-Broadway debut. Her work with Spotlight UB includes starring roles in Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, and most recently in Christopher Shorr's Tribute: 9/11.
Tickets for The Exonerated are $15 for general admission, $10 for seniors, and $5 for UB students and alumni. Tickets are available at www.etix.com; please search under University of Baltimore. Tickets may also be purchased at the venue beginning one hour prior to the performance. Reduced rate parking is available on event nights at the UB Maryland Avenue Garage, located on Maryland Avenue between Biddle and Chase streets, or in the Fitzgerald Garage on Oliver Street; a voucher will be provided at the box office, and the UB shuttle is available to transport patrons between the venue and the garage.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the School of Law, the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Public Affairs and the Merrick School of Business.