Jun 6 2023
The Collaboration on Broadway with Actor Erik Jensen
Erik Jensen is an actor, writer and director. As an actor, Erik appeared regularly in both seasons of the ABC series “For Life.” Other TV credits include major arcs on “The Walking Dead,” “Mindhunter” and “Mr. Robot,” appearances on “The Americans,” “House of Cards,” “Elementary,” The Blacklist,” and many more, including his critically acclaimed portrayal of legendary NY Yankee Thurman Munson in “The Bronx is Burning.” Film credits include the upcoming Viral with Blair Underwood and Alfre Woodard, Black Knight, The Love Letter and more than two dozen indie films. His theater credits as an actor include The Collaboration on Broadway opposite Paul Bettany and Jeremy Pope, the Pulitzer-Prize winning production of Disgraced at Lincoln Center, The Good Negro at the Public Theater, Arthur Kopit's Y2K and Terrance McNally's Corpus Christi at MTC, and Lester Bangs in his play How To Be A Rock Critic (Kirk Douglas, South Coast Rep, ArtsEmerson, Steppenwolf, The Public). Erik's sci-fi graphic novel The Reconcilers was published in 2010 to wide acclaim, and he is co-host and co-creator of the podcast BardQuest Empire, which brings together entertainment industry professionals who play Dungeons & Dragons to talk about the intersections of D&D and storytelling. As a writer, Erik has been named by the New Yorker as “among the foremost practitioners of documentary theater in the U.S.” With his wife Jessica Blank, he is author of The Exonerated, a genre-defining play based on interviews they conducted with over 40 wrongly convicted death row inmates across the United States, which Governor George Ryan cited as instrumental in his 2003 decision to clear Illinois’ death row. The Exonerated won Lucille Lortel, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Ovation, Fringe First and Herald Angel Awards, and was nominated for the Hull-Warriner Award and the John Gassner Playwriting Award; it has also received awards from Amnesty International, the American Bar Association, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Death Penalty Focus, and Court TV, and was named Best Play of the Year by the New York Times. The Exonerated has been translated into Spanish, French, Italian, Farsi, Mandarin and Japanese and adapted by Erik and Jessica into an award-winning TV movie starring Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover, Brian Dennehy, Aidan Quinn and Delroy Lindo. Living Justice, Erik and Jessica’s book on the making of The Exonerated, was published by Simon and Schuster. Their documentary play Aftermath, based on interviews they conducted with Iraqi civilian refugees in Jordan, had its Off Broadway premiere at New York Theater Workshop, was a New York Times Critics’ Pick, toured internationally for two years and was nominated for two Drama League Awards. Their play How to be a Rock Critic (based on the writings of Lester Bangs) played sold-out runs at the Kirk Douglas, South Coast Rep, ArtsEmerson, Steppenwolf, and the Public Theater, with Erik starring as Lester Bangs; they are currently developing How To Be A Rock Critic for feature film. Their documentary play Coal Country, about West Virginia’s 2010 Upper Big Branch Mine disaster, opened at the Public Theater on March 3, 2020, with original music written and performed by three-time Grammy Award-winning musician Steve Earle (Edgerton New Play Award, 2 Drama Desk noms, Lortel Award nom). When its run was cut short by COVID-19, the pair pivoted and wrote The Line, a documentary play based on firsthand interviews with NYC medical first responders at the height of the pandemic, starring Lorraine Toussaint, John Ortiz, Alison Pill, Santino Fontana and more. Also a NYT Critics’ Pick, The Line garnered rave reviews from coast to coast and was viewed by over 85,000 people in 50 countries. Coal Country recently reopened commercially at the Cherry Lane Theater in 2022 to massive critical acclaim, produced by the Public and Audible, and was recorded for Audible Theater (Signal Award for Best Drama) . Erik and Jessica currently have a major new musical under commission with the Public Theater. As TV/screenwriters, Erik and Jessica currently have projects in development with David Simon/Blown Deadline, Levinson/Fontana, and Ed Burns (The Wire, Generation Kill). They wrote the pilot The Negotiator for Gaumont TV (EP Tom Fontana) and have developed with Fox TV Studios, 20th Century TV, Levinson/Fontana, Avenue Pictures, Sunswept, Virgin Produced, and Radical Media. Erik and Jessica’s first feature as writer/directors, Almost Home, was released by Vertical Entertainment in 2019 and their second scripted feature, How To Be A Rock Critic, is currently in development. They are in pre-production with Meteor17 to co-direct a feature documentary about legendary rock engineer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, the Rolling Stones) in collaboration with the Hendrix estate, and in development for a feature documentary about the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, produced by Audrey Rosenberg (I Am Not Your Negro, HBO’s Katrina Babies) and executive produced by Steve Earle. Erik lives in Brooklyn with his wife Jessica and their daughter Sadie. Connect more with Erik: Instagram https://www.instagram.com/ejensen123 Twitter https://twitter.com/erikjensen123 Please consider SUPPORTING my SHOW, SUBSCRIBE to the NEWSLETTER, ENTER in the GIVEAWAYS https://www.chonacas.com/contact/ Social media links: https://twitter.com/katiechonacas https://www.instagram.com/chonacas https://www.instagram.com/shesallovertheplacepodcast/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/katiechonacas Disclaimer: None of the information in the podcast should be considered as a financial advice. Always do your own research.