On March 3, The Public Theater celebrated the official opening of Coal Country, a new play with music co-written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, with music by Grammy winner Steve Earle. Based on first-person accounts of the Upper Big Branch mine explosion—which killed 29 men in West Virginia in 2010—the world premiere weaves folk-inspired songs with survivors' stories.
Blank directs a cast made up of Mary Bacon as Patti, Amelia Campbell as Mindi, Michael Gaston as Stanley "Goose," Ezra Knight as Roosevelt, Thomas Kopache as Gary, Michael Laurence as Tommy, Deirdre Madigan as Judy, and Melinda Tanner as Judge.
Coal Country features sets by Richard Hoover, costumes by Jessica Jahn, lighting by David Lander, and sound design by Darron L. West.
Performances began February 18 and, following an extension, continue through April 5.