University of Houston Law Center
Dead Man Walking & the Law

a program featuring

David R. Dow
Cullen Professor, University of Houston Law Center
Author, Autobiography of an Execution


the Houston Premier of the Opera
Dead Man Walking

Wednesday, February 2, 2011
5:45 p.m.—Wortham Theatre Center, Houston
Wortham Theatre Center, Houston

Seating is Limited
Register by completing the enclosed form or by contacting or 713.743.2394
by Monday, January 24, 2011.

When art explores the tension between legality and morality, politics and redemption, and suffering and death, its impact is palpable. The opera Dead Man Walking*, based on the novel of the same name by Sister Helen Prejean, follows inmate Joe de Rocher through the corridors of Angola Prison¾as failed appeals and the machinery of execution bring him gradually to his death.

Combining the tale of the condemned with the reflections of a man whose vocation is to defend society’s most despicable and desperate is all the more powerful. Dead Man Walking & the Law features University of Houston Law Center Professor David R. Dow, who will provide a first-person account of his role as a death penalty lawyer by taking us inside his struggle with candor and insight.

*Jake Heggie’s opera has played to sold-out houses across the U.S. and Europe in the decade since its premiere. The Houston production features legendary mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade in her farewell performance. For more information on the opera, please visit

Image of David R. DowDavid R. Dow is the Cullen Professor at the University of Houston Law Center and the litigation director at the Texas Defender Service a nonprofit legal aid corporation that provides representation to death row inmates and works for reforms to the criminal justice system. In March 2000, Dow founded the Texas Innocence Network, an organization that uses UH law students to investigate claims of actual innocence brought by Texas prisoners. The author of five books and more than one hundred scholarly articles and book chapters, Dow’s most recent book is The Autobiography of an Execution (Twelve 2010).

Evening Schedule

5:45 p.m.: Registration, Dead Man Walking & the Law Green Room
6:00 p.m.: Supper and Talk, Professor David Dow Green Room
6:45 p.m.: Pre-Curtain Talk, HGO Resident Dramaturg Colin Ure Brown Theater
7:30 p.m.: Performance, Dead Man Walking  Brown Theater

Because of time constraints, the program will start promptly.

For directions and parking information, please visit