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Tragic Incident Brought To Stage With 'The Gammage Project'

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The scene was all too real on Oct. 12, 1995, when a traffic stop in Brentwood turned deadly.

Now, a new production is bringing it to the stage.

Fight Choreographer Joseph Martinez is striving for accuracy.

"There's a responsibility in bringing truth to this story," Martinez said.

Jonny Gammage, 31, was driving a Jaguar owned by his cousin, former Steeler Ray Seals, when he was pulled over on Route 51.

A fight with five white officers resulted in death by asphyxiation.

Brentwood Officer John Vojtas was acquitted in a racially charged verdict and mistrials were declared on two other officers.

"The Gammage Project" brings the story to the stage of the University of Pittsburgh's Heymann Theater.

Pitt theater professor Buck Favorini said the alleged police beating of Jordan Miles in Homewood two years ago prompted him to finish the script.

"I thought the parallels were sharp enough that this was the right time to do it," Favorini said.

From the hard, cold asphalt of Route 51, to the Allegheny County Courthouse, "The Gammage Project" tells the story from initial confrontation to final verdict.

Director Mark Southers said "The Gammage Project" hits very close to home.

"I think they're going to walk out of here feeling better for being here, as opposed to not dealing with the pain. I feel they're going to walk out of here saying "Okay, now I understand just what happened," Southers said.


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