Crafted by director Moisés Kaufman and members of his Tectonic Theater Project, who interviewed Wyoming and Colorado residents and wrote and acted in the resulting play, The Laramie Project was produced by Denver Center Theatre Company in association with Tectonic in early 2000 and then ran Off-Broadway March-September 2000. It has since blossomed in regional theatres and in college theatres. A film version appeared on HBO.
On Oct. 6, 1998, Shepard was beaten and left to die tied to a fence in the outskirts of Laramie. He died six days later. "His torture and murder became a watershed historical moment in America that highlighted many of the fault lines in our culture," according to Tectonic. "A month after the murder the members of Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie and conducted interviews with the people of the town."
This month, Tectonic members return to Laramie "to find out what has happened over the last 10 years. Has Matthew's murder had a lasting impact on that community? How has the town changed as a result of this event? What does life in Laramie tell us about life in America 10 years later?"
According to a Sept. 4 Tectonic blog announcement, "From the interviews conducted, they will write an article with their findings that they hope to publish in the New York Times as well as other major national papers. They will also write an Epilogue for the play to be added to the published version of the script."
Five members of Tectonic Theater Project — Kaufman, Andy Paris, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti and Stephen Belber — are seeking out the same people they interviewed 10 years ago, and will interview them again. The core of the interviews will be about how Laramie has changed: politically, socially, religiously, educationally. "One of the main differences between this trip and the original one, is that this time we expect to be videotaping our interviews," according to Tectonic. "Part of these we'll then put on our web site and create a small video presentation 'The Laramie Project - 10 Years Later.'"
The 2000 credits for The Laramie Project were Moisés Kaufman (playwright), Peter Golub (composer), Stephen Belber (associate writer), Greg Pierotti (associate writer), Stephen Wangh (associate writer), Leigh Fondakowski (head writer), Moisés Kaufman (director) and Leigh Fondakowski (assistant director).
The return to Laramie Project is underwritten by The Rockefeller Foundation.
For more information about Tectonic Theater Project and The Laramie Project, visit tectonictheaterproject.org.