American screen stars have started lining up to appear in The Exonerated, the hit Off-Broadway drama about living on death row which receives its London premiere later this month (See News, 19 Dec 2005).

Amongst those so far confirmed to appear in the 16-week season - running from 24 February (previews from 21 February) to 11 June 2006 at west London’s Riverside Studios are: Kristin Davis (Charlotte from Sex and the City - pictured), Stockard Channing (Grease, The West Wing, previously seen on the London stage in Six Degrees of Separation), Danny Glover (Lethal Weapon) and Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek Voyager) as well as Aidan Quinn (Legends of the Fall, Michael Collins), who also appeared in the 90-minute play when it received its UK premiere at last year’s Edinburgh Festival, where it run a Fringe First (See News, 19 Aug 2005).

Other celebrities who will guest star during the London season are expected to be announced shortly. Amongst the stars who appeared in the Off-Broadway run, which finished in October 2002 after 608 performances, were: Gabriel Byrne, Richard Dreyfuss, Mia Farrow, Jeff Goldblum, Alanis Morissette, Bebe Neuwirth, Lynn Redgrave, Kyra Sedgwick, Ally Sheedy, Brooke Shields, Kathleen Turner, Mary J Blige, Robert Carradine and Debra Winger.

The Exonerated was written in 2001 by husband-and-wife team Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, based on interviews with 40 former death row prisoners. It explores the experiences of those wrongfully imprisoned for between two and 22 years.

The play was first performed in April 2002 by the Los Angeles-based Actors’ Gang, under the artistic directorship of Hollywood’s Tim Robbins, before transferring to New York. In January 2005, the stage drama was adapted for television and aired on the US’ Court TV channel, starring Quinn, Brian Dennehy, Danny Glover, Delroy Lindo, Susan Sarandon and David Brown Jr.

Meanwhile, at the Old Vic, James Fox has replaced John Wood playing Henri Schultz in Robert Altman’s upcoming production of Arthur Miller’s Resurrection Blues, which receives its UK premiere on 2 March 2006 (previews from 14 February) and continues until 22 April 2006 (See News, 3 Jan 2006). Wood had to withdraw at the start of rehearsals due to a sudden bout of illness.

Not to be confused with the Fame Academy star who will feature in the Broadway transfer of Billy Joel-Twyla Tharp musical Movin' Out (See News, 17 Jan 2006), this James Fox is the brother of fellow thespian Edward Fox. In an extensive career spanning more than 40 years, his many TV and film credits have included The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, A Passage to India, Remains of the Day, Sexy Beast, The Golden Bowl, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Colditz, A Question of Attribution, The Lost World, Armadillo and Metropolis.

In Resurrection Blues, Fox joins an ensemble which also features Hollywood’s Neve Campbell and Matthew Modine as well as Austrian-born Oscar winner Maximilian Schell, Broadway veteran Jane Adams and Briton Peter McDonald.

A satire of cultural commercialisation, global politics and media saturation, Resurrection Blues, which Miller was rewriting in the weeks before he died in February (See News, 11 Feb 2005), received its world premiere at Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater in 2002. It is set in an unnamed South American country where a young rebel heralded as a messiah is gathering support from the downtrodden masses. When the government’s dictator captures the man and decides to crucify him, a New York-based TV company swoops in to vie for the broadcast rights.

- by Terri Paddock