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TO JAN. 19

It was pretty thrilling when the Tectonic Theater Project shook the dust out of a stack of old Oscar Wilde bios and court records to create Gross Indecency. It was marginally less thrilling, but still pretty moving, when the same crew turned its talents to the Matthew Shepard murder, pulling together The Laramie Project from trial transcripts, TV archives, and interviews with locals. And it was pretty clever when the producers of The Vagina Monologues came up with the notion of rotating an endless roster of celebrities through various benefit stagings of the show, guaranteeing themselves regular press and audience turnover. And while I’m willing to believe that there’s some real merit to The Exonerated, Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen’s 90-minute evening of linked monologues about wrongfully convicted death-row inmates, I can’t say I’m optimistic about a show that’s derivative of not one, not two, but three recent theatrical landmarks. And, um, not to be flip about a life-and-death issue, but haven’t we heard a lot about this lately? See if Brian Dennehy (pictured), Mia Farrow, and Chad Lowe can tell you something you didn’t already know. Oh, and if you wanna save yourself a few bucks, try showing up at the box office and telling ’em your name is George W. Bush: Back in 2000, when Dubya was doing double duty as presidential candidate and executioner-in-chief of the nation’s most death-happy state, author Jensen made a point of putting aside a pair of tickets for him at every performance. No word on whether the tour producers might still make good on the offer, but you can bet the Bushes won’t press the issue. The production runs to Sunday, Jan. 19, at the Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. $16.50-$59. (202) 432-7328; see City List for dates. (Trey Graham)