Princeton University's Lewis Center for the Arts
McCarter Theatre Center
to Co-Host Reading of
The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, An Epilogue
The Princeton performance on October 12th to coincide with readings at more than 150 theaters in all 50 states and eight other countries for his epic theater event led by Tectonic Theater Project
Princeton, NJ, October 6, 2009 —Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts and McCarter Theatre Center will co-host a reading of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, An Epilogue, on Monday, October 12 at 8pm in the James M. Stewart ‘32 Theatre at the Lewis Center for the Arts, 185 Nassau St., Princeton. Staged by Michael Cadden, Director of Program in Theater at Princeton University and Mara Isaacs, Producing Director at McCarter Theatre, the reading will feature a cast of Princeton University students. This special event is free and open to the public.
Written by Tectonic Theater Project members Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris, and Stephen Belber, The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later will also be presented that evening at more than 150 venues within all 50 states and in Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Venezuela and Israel.
“As associate producer on the original off-Broadway production, I had the privilege of witnessesing Moisés Kaufman and his theater company, Tectonic Theater Project, develop the profound and provocative The Laramie Project,” said Ms. Isaacs. “Now on October 12, we have the timely opportunity to take part in a national conversation on our communities’ response to and complicity in hate crimes.”
October 12, 2009 marks the 11th anniversary of Matthew Shepherd’s murder and this play, with entirely new material, focuses on the long-term effects his death has had on the town of Laramie, Wyoming. The play includes interviews with Shepard’s mother Judy Shepard and his murderer Aaron McKinney, who is serving two consecutive life sentences. The writers also conducted follow-up interviews with many Laramie residents from the original piece, including Romaine Patterson, Reggie Fluty, Jedediah Shultz, Father Roger Schmidt, Jonas Slonaker, Beth Loffreda and others.
In tandem with the premiere, an online interactive community has been launched at www.laramieproject.org, where participants can blog, upload video and photos, and share their stories about the play and their experiences in preparing and presenting the Epilogue in their communities. The members of Tectonic Theater Project will be active participants in the online community, offering participants feedback and encouragement.
On the creation of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, Tectonic Theater Project Artistic Director Moisés Kaufman said: “The Tectonic Theater Project set out to find out how Laramie had changed in the ten years since the murder of Matthew Shepard. When we arrived, we were forced to confront the question, ‘How do you measure change in a community?’ One of the things we found when we got there, which greatly surprised us, was people in Laramie saying this was not a hate crime.”
Leigh Fondakowski added: “We found the people of Laramie still fighting to own their own history, their own identity, their own story, and part of that is shaped by how they understand what happened that night to Matthew.”
The murder of Matthew Shepard became a watershed historical moment in America that highlighted the violence and prejudice lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people face. The Laramie Project made audiences around the world aware of this tragedy and brought issue of hate crimes to national attention. The Laramie Project, which was later adapted to film by HBO, has been produced worldwide and viewed by over 50 million people.
Tectonic Theater Project (Moisés Kaufman, Artistic Director; Greg Reiner, Executive Director; Jeffrey LaHoste, Managing Director; Dominick Balletta, General Manager) is an award-winning company whose plays have been performed around the world. Since 1992 TTP has produced innovative works that explore theatrical language and form, fostering an artistic dialogue with our audiences on the social, political and human issues of the day. The company has developed and produced works for theater and film, including: the smash hit Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde; The Laramie Project (one of the most produced plays in the country, as well as an HBO movie written and directed by Kaufman); and I Am My Own Wife (2004 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for best play). Tectonic has garnered numerous awards including the Humanitas Prize, the Obie, the Lucille Lortel Award, The Outer Critics Circle Award, the GLAAD Media Award, the Artistic Integrity Award from the Human Rights Campaign, and the Making a Difference Award from the Matthew Shepard Foundation. The film of The Laramie Project was also honored with four Emmy Nominations, The National Board of Review Award for Outstanding Made for Television Movie, and a Golden Bear Award from the Berlin Film Festival. In addition to creating theatrical works, Tectonic Theater Project works in residence at Universities around the country and hosts a New York based training lab for theater artists. As a non-profit laboratory, Tectonic Theater Project is grateful for the long term support of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Greenwall Foundation, The Arcus Foundation, The Small Change Foundation, The Educational Foundation of America, Shawn Donnelley, Judy Dimon, and the donors and friends of Tectonic.
The Lewis Center for the Arts is part of a major initiative announced by President Shirley M. Tilghman in 2006 to fully embrace the arts as an essential part of the educational experience for all who study and teach at Princeton University. The Lewis Center for the Arts will have a significant impact on the University and the larger community it serves. The public is welcomed to a full range of lectures, exhibitions, concerts and performances at the Center. Many of the Center’s events are free or charge a nominal admission fee.
Under the leadership of artistic director Emily Mann and managing director Timothy J. Shields, McCarter Theatre Center, home to the Matthews and Berlind Theatres, is recognized as one of the nation’s premier theatre companies and performing arts centers. Renowned for major contributions to the theatrical canon, McCarter premieres have included Tarell Alvin McCraney’s trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays; Edward Albee’s Me, Myself & I; Emily Mann’s Mrs. Packard; Beth Henley’s Ridiculous Fraud; Christopher Durang’s Miss Witherspoon; Steven Dietz’s Last of the Boys; Regina Taylor’s Crowns; Dael Orlandersmith’s Yellowman; Emily Mann’s Having Our Say; Athol Fugard’s Valley Song; and Stephen Wadsworth’s Marivaux trilogy. McCarter has also produced major new productions of Brian Friel’s Translations, directed by Garry Hynes; Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics; August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson; Edward Albee’s All Over (2 Obie Awards), directed by Emily Mann; and Electra, directed by David Leveaux. McCarter is supported by Princeton University, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and over 3,000 individuals, corporations and foundations.
The International Community Convocation of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later is made possible by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and the support of these Presenting Partners: Grand Performances, Los Angeles, California; Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio; UA Presents, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona; Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah; Reston Community Center, Reston, Virginia; Miami University Per¬forming Arts Series, Oxford, Ohio; Connecticut College, New London, Connecticut; Celebrity Series of Boston, Boston, Massachusetts; The Baptist Temple @ Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Cal Poly Arts, San Luis Obispo, California; Fullerton College, Fullerton, California; Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Newman Center for the Performing Arts, Denver, Colorado; Lied Center for the Performing Arts, Lincoln, Nebraska; Choregus Productions LLC, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, College Park, Maryland; Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Hope Theatre Company, Salford, United Kingdom