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'The Exonerated' staged Oct. 24-27 at West campus

The Exonerated cast
October 14, 2013

“The Exonerated,” a dramatization of the real-life stories of six men and women who were sentenced to death and later freed amidst overwhelming evidence of their innocence, will be presented Oct. 24-27 at Arizona State University’s West campus.

A co-production with iTheatre Collaborative, this thought-provoking drama is culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and court records of individuals on death row. Performances will be followed by talk-backs with the audience.

“The Exonerated” is directed by Charles St. Clair, a faculty member in ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, the core college on the West campus.

“Art and activism sometimes make for an awkward pairing, but that’s not the case in ‘The Exonerated,’” said Arizona Republic theater critic Kerry Lengel, in a review of the current production, first staged at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix.

“Veteran Valley actor Rod Ambrose serves as the play’s poetical foundation, playing Delbert Lee Tibbs, a bighearted philosopher who has learned how to forgive without forgetting,” Lengel wrote. “Even more impressive is T.A. Burrows as Robert Earl Hayes, a black man wrongly convicted of killing a white woman based on a fingerprint left months before her murder. He and Toni Robinson, as his sassy wife (among other roles), bring a sardonic wit that adds both bittersweet poignancy and much-needed comic relief to the proceedings.”

“The six interwoven stories paint a picture of an American criminal justice system gone horribly wrong, and of six brave souls who persevered to survive it,” said St. Clair, who teaches classes for New College’s bachelor’s degree program in interdisciplinary arts and performance.

Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, “The Exonerated” opened in New York in 2002 at the Culture Project’s 45 Bleecker Street Theater and played for 18 months. A tenth-anniversary production in 2012 featured a rotating cast of guest performers, including Sunny Jacobs, who was convicted of a crime she did not commit and spent 16 years on death row. Jacobs’ story is one of the six portrayed in “The Exonerated.”

Show times are 7:30 p.m., Oct 24-26, and 3 p.m., on Oct. 27. ASU’s West campus is at 4701 W. Thunderbird Road in Phoenix. Performances will be held in Second Stage West, lower level of the University Center Building.

Tickets are $10 general admission, $7 for seniors, and $5 for students, faculty and staff.

Tickets for “The Exonerated” may be purchased at Details about this and other arts events at ASU’s West campus may be found online at, on Facebook @ asuwestevents or by calling the Arts Information line at 602-543-2787.