The Laramie Project, an Off-Broadway premiere in 2000 and a touring staple in 2001, is now beginning several regional productions, including the season opener at Atlanta's Actor's Express, where it plays Sept. 6-Oct. 20. Opening night, a benefit gala for the company to be held at Lowe's Gallery, is Sept. 15.
The play concerns a group of New York theatre people — writers and actors who make up the Tectonic Theater Company — who traveled to Wyoming to interview citizens in the aftermath of the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard, in 1998. The actor-writers processed their interviews into monologues and scenes, and created The Laramie Project, a kind of unique, stylized theatrical journalism.
Claudia Zelevansky directs. In New York, she was an assistant director at Manhattan Theatre Club and helmed Henry VIII at the Public Theatre. Other credits include Maria Irene Fornes' The Danube and the Ursula LeGuin adaptation, Dancing at the Edge of the World.
The Laramie Project features Actor's Express veteran David Crowe (The Mystery of Irma Vep, Under the Water), Justin Welborn, Hope Mirlis, Britt Whittle, Jeremy Cudd, Alexandra Price, Laurie Strickland and Shontelle Thrash.
Matt Richards designed the sets and lighting. Tina Hightower designed the costumes. Tickets are $20-$25. Actor's Express is located in the King Plow Arts Center at 887 West Marietta Street. For reservations, call (404) 607-SHOW. Actor's Express is on the web at http://www.actorsexpress.com.
Filming began May 2 in Wyoming for the HBO-Good Machine television movie of "The Laramie Project," drawn from the Off-Broadway drama written by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Company.
The film, expected to be seen in the fall on HBO, opens up the story that was highly presentational and theatrical in its February 2000 world premiere by Denver Center Theatre Company (in association with Tectonic) and in spring 2000 at Off-Broadway's Union Square Theatre.
The film chronicles and fleshes out the trips the artists took to Laramie and environs and there are now some 60 speaking parts in the film, compared to a play that originally had a cast of 8 playing all the roles. Some of the original cast members appear in the picture. Marquee names such as Peter Fonda, Christina Ricci, Steve Buscemi, Janeane Garofalo and Laura Linney are among actors playing the regional characters who were witness , directly or indirectly, to the murder that made international headlines.
— By Christine Ehren
and Kenneth Jones