WMU News

Theatre season opens with 'The Laramie Project'

Sept. 17, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- The University Theatre of will open its 2001-02 season with "The Laramie Project," a stunning play by Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project that focuses on the events surrounding the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University
of Wyoming in Laramie.

Performances begin at 8 p.m., Sept. 20-22 and 25-29, and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23, in the York Arena Theatre. Tickets are $6 for all patrons. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Gilmore Theatre Ticket Office at 616 387-6222. Office hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and two hours prior to performances.

Post-show discussions will be held following each performance.

The brutal murder of Matthew Shepard in October 1998 shocked the nation and gained international headlines. Shepard was a 22-year-old gay college student who was viciously beaten and left to die, tied to a wooden fence in a rural area outside Laramie.

In November 1998, twelve members of the Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie to explore the events surrounding the murder. Over the course of a year, they conducted over 200 interviews with the residents of the town, and these interviews became the foundation of "The Laramie Project." The play exploded onto the theatre scene in February 2000 with its powerful and thought- provoking story. The New York Times called it a "deeply moving work of theatrical journalism." Playwright Kaufman is also well-known for his award-winning play, "Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde."

The University Theatre has chosen "The Laramie Project" as the inaugural production in the new York Arena Series, a more intimate venue for cutting-edge plays.

Media contact: Shauna Thieman, 616 387-6222, shauna.thieman@wmich.edu

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