Laramie Project Sequel Plays Throughout U.S. on Oct. 12
By Kenneth Jones
12 Oct 2009
The epilogue to The Laramie Project, entitled The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, makes its debut in a most unusual way: in more than 150 concurrent staged readings on Oct. 12.
The follow-up to the docudrama about the 1998 murder of gay student Matthew Shepard will be performed by stars and amateurs in spaces that range from major regional theatres to community auditoriums to university theatres to (in Manhattan) Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.
For star power, La Jolla Playhouse‘s staging will boast Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss; renowned comedian Bruce Vilanch; acclaimed actors Nancy Anderson, Kandis Chappell, Logan Marshall Green, Kathryn Meisle (Creditors), Stark Sands (Journey’s End, Bonnie & Clyde) and others.
The pre-show at Lincoln Center will be webcast live to the over 150 other theatres across the country that are also presenting the epilogue. The webcast will include guest host Glenn Close, welcoming remarks by Matthew’s mother, Judy Shepard, and a post-production Q & A moderated by National Public Radio Arts and Culture correspondent Neda Ulabay.
In a statement Greg Reiner, executive director of the Tectonic Theater Project, which created the original play and this sequel, said, “We now have over 150 theatres participating in this historic event and are thrilled to be joined by Judy Shepard, Glenn Close and our other special guests at the New York premiere. The interest and enthusiasm that the epilogue is receiving is very exciting and demonstrates to us the power the [Matthew] Shepard story still holds for people, as part of our collective history and as a lesson to all about homophobia, what is means to be gay in a small town and how stories must be re-told to ensure that the legacy of these kinds of incidents is correct. The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later will engage the audience as did the original, and we expect there will be many who are surprised to learn what Laramie is like a decade after Matt’s murder.”
The writers of the play are Tectonic Theater Project members MoisÃ©s Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris, and Stephen Belber. They traveled to Laramie following the crime to interviews residents about the event, with the intention of creating a theatre piece.
The epilogue “focuses on the long-term effects of the murder of Matthew Shepard on the town of Laramie, according to La Jolla production notes. “It explores how the town has changed and how the murder continues to reverberate in the community. The play also includes new interviews with Matthew’s mother Judy Shepard and Matthew’s murderer Aaron McKinney, who’s serving two consecutive life sentences. The writers also conducted many follow-up interviews with Laramie residents from the original piece, including, Romaine Patterson, Reggie Fluty, Jedediah Shultz, Father Roger Schmidt, Jonas Slonaker, Beth Loffreda and others.”
For tickets to the Alice Tully Hall performance, visit www.lincolncenter.org or by calling (800) 721-6500.
Information about tickets to all other events can be found via www.laramieproject.org.