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Plans on tap for a 100-theatre opening of 'The Laramie Project – 10 Years Later'

There aren't enough members of the Phelps Westboro KKKlan to picket all of these Laramie epilogue debuts that are going to launch across the country on Oct. 12. (NYT):

The creators of “The Laramie Project,” the acclaimed play about the 1998 murder of a 21-year-old gay man, Matthew Shepard, are finishing work on an 80-minute epilogue to the original work that will be given its debut simultaneously at dozens of theaters across the United States on Oct. 12, the 11th anniversary of Mr. Shepard’s death.

Moisés Kaufman, the playwright and director who, with his Tectonic Theater Project company, wrote and produced the first “Laramie Project,” said the epilogue would explore the impact of the Shepard killing on the residents of Laramie, Wyo., where it occurred. The dialogue will be drawn from interviews with dozens of people there, some of whom were involved in the crime, including Aaron McKinney, who was convicted of murdering Mr. Shepard and who gave an interview to the Tectonic artists.

In holding multiple premieres of the play on the same night, Mr. Kaufman said he was taking a page from the Federal Theater Project, the New Deal program that often opened plays in a multitude of cities on the same night.

Tectonic’s goal is to recruit 100 regional theaters, universities and other arts organizations to hold staged readings of the work, which is called “The Laramie Project — 10 Years Later.” More than 40 theaters have committed to the readings, including Arena Stage in Washington, Seattle Repertory Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theater and the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. The Tectonic company will hold its performance in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center.

What will be interesting about this epilogue are what audiences will learn about Laramie, Wyoming and whether views of LGBTs has changed since 1998, and the voices given to the range of opinions about the murder of Matthew Shepard itself, ranging from the belief that it was a hate crime, to the point of view represented by Rep. Virginia Foxx (that it's hate crime “hoax” and was merely a robbery attempt gone wrong).

I'm sure some of the Kansas-based Westboro crew will show up at a few of the prominent locations.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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