Monday, October 12, 2009

Laramie Project-10 Years Later

TONIGHT, October 12th @ 8pm
Free to the public
D. Terry Williams Theatre, Western Michigan University

The creators of the highly acclaimed play The Laramie Project, which since 2000 has been one of the most performed plays in America, will premiere a compelling and groundbreaking epilogue to the original piece. Entitled THE LARAMIE PROJECT: 10 YEARS LATER, the play will be performed in New York at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, and over 100 other theaters in all fifty states, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Hong Kong and Australia on October 12, 2009. Western Michigan University's Department of Theatre has the honor of participating in this worldwide theatre event. The writers of this play are Tectonic Theater Project members Mosises Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris, and Stephen Belber.

A live webcast from New York's Lincoln Center will be broadcast before the performance featuring host Glenn Close and speaker Judy Sheperd, Matthew Sheperd's mother. Following the reading of the play, a panel discussion will be held featuring local community members Dave Garcia, Sarah Stangl, Reverend Matt Laney, Jon Hoadley and David Topping to discuss where we are as a community 10 years later in regards to LGBT relations.

The epilogue focuses on the long-term effects of the murder of Matthew Sheperd on the town of Laramie. 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 Sheperd, and Matthew's murderer, Aaron McKinney, who is 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 and others.

In tandem with the premier, an online community will be launched where participants can blog, upload video and photos and share their stories about the play, experiences in preparing and presenting the Epilogue in their communities. The members of the Tectonic Theater Project will be active participants in the online community, offering participants feedback and encouragement.

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