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The Public Theater Announces Complete Casting for World Premiere of New Play COAL COUNTRY

The Public Theater Announces Complete Casting for World Premiere of New Play COAL COUNTRY

The Public Theater (Artistic Director, Oskar Eustis; Executive Director, Patrick Willingham) announced complete casting today for the world premiere of the new play COAL COUNTRY, written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen with original music by Steve Earle. Directed by Jessica Blank, this riveting new work will begin performances in the Anspacher Theater with a Joseph Papp Free Preview performance on Tuesday, February 18. COAL COUNTRY will run through Sunday, March 29, with an official press opening on Tuesday, March 3.

The complete cast of COAL COUNTRY features Mary Bacon (Patti), Amelia Campbell (Mindi), Michael Gaston (Stanley "Goose"), Ezra Knight (Roosevelt), Thomas Kopache (Gary), Michael Laurence (Tommy), Deirdre Madigan (Judy), and Melinda Tanner (Judge).

In 2010, the Upper Big Branch mine explosion killed 29 men, and tore a hole in the lives of countless others. In this riveting, emotionally stunning new work based on first-person accounts by survivors and family members, Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, award-winning writers of The Exonerated, and three-time Grammy Award-winning country/folk legend Steve Earle dig deep into the lives and loss of the most deadly mining disaster in recent U.S. history. Jessica Blank directs this haunting world premiere that gives voice to those yet unheard and shines a piercing light on the deadly forces of greed and the enduring power of love.

Continuing The Public's mission to make great theater accessible to all, The Public's Joseph Papp Free Preview initiative will continue this spring; free tickets to the performance on Tuesday, February 18 will be available beginning Wednesday, February 12 via TodayTix mobile lottery, and on Tuesday, February 18 via the lottery in the lobby of The Public Theater at Astor Place, with entries starting at 11:00 a.m. and winners drawn at 12:00 p.m. (Noon).

COAL COUNTRY features scenic design by Richard Hoover, costume design by Jessica Jahn, lighting design by David Lander, and sound design by Darron L West.

Jessica Blank AND Erik Jensen (Director and Playwrights) are writers, actors, and directors. They are authors of The Exonerated (Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Ovation, Fringe First, and Herald Angel Awards) and its award-winning TV movie adaptation starring Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover, as well as Aftermath (NYTW; NYT Critics' Pick, international tour, two Drama League nominations). Their play How to Be a Rock Critic ran at the Kirk Douglas, South Coast Rep, ArtsEmerson, Steppenwolf, and Under the Radar at The Public Theater, with Jensen starring and Blank directing. They are currently developing How to Be a Rock Critic for feature film with Likely Story; their first film, Almost Home, was released in 2019. They have developed and written TV for Gaumont, Fox TV Studios, 20th Century TV, Avenue Pictures, Sunswept Entertainment, Virgin Produced, and Radical Media. Jensen's acting credits include arcs on "The Walking Dead," "Mindhunter," and "Mr. Robot"; leads in the upcoming ABC series "For Life" and pilots "Second Sight," "The Frontier," and "Virtuality"; baseball legend Thurman Munson in "The Bronx Is Burning," and numerous appearances including "The Americans," "House Of Cards," "Turn," "Elementary," "The Blacklist," "Chicago PD," and more. Film includes Black Knight, The Love Letter, and over two dozen indies. His theater credits include the Pulitzer Prize-winning production of Disgraced (Lincoln Center), The Good Negro (The Public), Arthur Kopit's Y2K and Terrance McNally's Corpus Christi (MTC), and his critically acclaimed solo performance as Lester Bangs in How to Be a Rock Critic. As an actor, Blank's TV credits include "For Life," "High Maintenance," "Blue Bloods," "Elementary," "The Following," "The Mentalist," "Bored To Death," "Rescue Me," "Law & Order: CI," "The Bronx Is Burning," NBC pilot "Shelter," and over a dozen films. They are married and live in Brooklyn with their daughter Sadie.

Steve Earle (Composer) is one of the most acclaimed singer-songwriters of his generation. A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, he quickly became a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez, Emmylou Harris, The Pretenders, and countless others. 1986 saw the release of his debut record,a??Guitar Town, which shot to number one on the country charts. What followed was a varied array of releases including the Grammy Award-winning albumsa??The Revolution Starts...Now (2004),a??Washington Square Serenadea??(2007), anda??Townes (2009).a??A true Renaissance man, Earle has become a novelist, a film, TV, and stage actor, playwright, record producer, and radio host.a?? In 2018, he appeared in the Off-Broadway playa??Samara, for which he also wrote the score thata??The New York Timesa??called "exquisitely subliminal."a??2019 saw the release of GUY, his highly anticipated 19th studio album The New Yorker calls a "winsome tribute" to his mentor, the legendary Guy Clark.

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