The Exonerated

Written by by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen

Directed by Cynthia Ettinger

“This is not the place for thought that does not end in concreteness”

Culled from interviews, letters, transcripts, case files and the public record, The Exonerated tells the true stories of six wrongfully convicted survivors of death row in their own words. Moving between first-person monologues and scenes set in courtrooms and prisons, 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. Minimally staged with 10 chairs as the set dressings, Ettinger utilizes only stage lights and original music by Dave Robbins to paint the picture of the characters’ journeys from isolation and entrapment to freedom and exoneration. This is the second play in the Season of Justice series, which aims to highlight themes of social justice in our society.

Runtime: 1 hour 30 minutes

14 performances: October 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30 Nov 3, 4, 5

Thursdays and Saturdays at 8pm, Fridays at 9pm, Sundays at 2pm

Our Cast:

Cameron Dye (Gary)
Mary Eileen O’Donnell (Sunny)
Ken Palmer (Kerry)
Jeffy Branion (David)
Donna Jo Thorndale (Sandra,  Sue, Female Ensemble)
Colin Golden (Male Ensemble #2)
Joshua Lamont (Robert)
Jason Ryan Lovett (Male Ensemble)
Monica Quinn (Georgia, Judge, Darla, Prosecutor)
Ben Cain (Delbert)

Stage Manager: Olivia Courtin

Assistant Stage Managers: Lance Frantzich and Bunny Saavedra Leslie


To make our work accesible to everyone in the community, every Thursday night is Pay-What-You-Can night. Just show up before 7:30 to get on the list.

Production Photos

Cynthia Ettinger


Cynthia Ettigner has been a member of The Actors’ Gang for over 30 years and serves as the company’s Co-Artistic Director and Master Teacher. She has directed numerous plays during the company’s 35-year history, including five recent Shakespeare adaptations presented as part of the company’s Free Shakespeare in the Park (for families) program, using Shakespeare to inspire and entertain over 10,000 kids and adults. With The Actors’ Gang she has performed in many productions including The Seagull, Mephisto, Self-Defense, Red Noses, and Carnage: A Comedy.

The Exonerated is Back at The Actors’ Gang

The Actors’ Gang showcased the world premiere of The Exonerated back in 2002. Three of the original cast members: Ken Palmer, Ben Cain and Jeffy Branion have returned to this production fourteen years later. Palmer revives the role he originated. In 2004 The Actors’ Gang took The Exonerated on a 12-city tour around the United States. After the world premiere in 2002, Bob Balaban launched a star-studded production in New York with Richard Dreyfuss, Jill Clayburgh and Sara Gilbert. The success of the play has advanced worldwide and was made into a film in 2005 starring Susan Sarandon, David Glover and Brian Dennehy.

CULVER CITY, CA – The Actors’ Gang, the critically acclaimed Los Angeles based ensemble theatre company, is re-mounting its production of The Exonerated after coming back from a tour earlier this spring at the Lied Center of Performing Arts in Lincoln Nebraska. Directed by Co-Artistic Director, Cynthia Ettinger. The show runs  October 13th  through Nov 5th, 2015, Thursdays  and Saturdays at 8pm, and Fridays at 9pm and Sundays at 2pm at the company’s home theater at the Ivy Substation in Culver City, California. Tickets are available by phone 310.838.4264 or online at

About the Playwrights

Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen are actors, writers, and directors. Together, they are the authors of The Exonerated, a play based on interviews they conducted with over 40 wrongfully convicted death row inmates across the United States. Jessica received the idea in 2000 after attending a conference on capital punishment and hearing stories of many people who were wrongly convicted. She and Jensen began research and interviewed six people – interweaving their stories to create this play. Their documentary play Aftermath, based on interviews they conducted with Iraqi civilian refugees in Jordan was a New York Times Critic’s Pick and was nominated for two Drama League awards. Their new play, How To Be a Rock Critic, recently completed a sold-out run at the Kirk Douglas Theater.  They currently have a feature in development with Avenue Pictures and are adapting the award-winning Lou Mason series of crime novels for television (Nancy Miller, EP).

About the Company

The Actors’ Gang was founded in 1981 by a group of young artists looking to build a theatre that would present relevant and vibrantly entertaining plays. Guided by Founding Artistic Director, Tim Robbins, the company provides a supportive environment for a diverse ensemble of artists and the development of their groundbreaking work. Their goal is to produce plays that contribute to the ongoing dialogue about our society and culture, while never forgetting that theaters primary purpose is to entertain.

About the Season of Justice

The Actors’ Gang is heavily involved in social justice through their work with the Prison Project, a program that conducts weekly and seven-day intensive theater programs inside the California prison system where they use the art of theater as a tool for self-expression and rehabilitation. Because of this work, and the current climate surrounding social justice issues, the Actors Gang has decided to produce a series of plays in their Season of Justice. The other plays in the series are The Refugee Project, a workshop production directed by Tim Robbins about twenty people from different periods of history, of divergent origin, speaking different languages fleeing their hometowns, and Harlequino: On to Freedom, a play written and directed by Tim Robbins about a group of rogue actors hijacks a lecture on the Commedia dell’Arte.