The Laramie Project, a co-creation from Moises Kaufman (Gross Indecency) and the Tectonic Theater Project, took the story of openly gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard's murder and examined issues of prejudice, acceptance, love and anger in middle America through interviews with residents of the small town of Laramie, WY. Berkeley Repertory Theatre extends the popular production's West Coast premiere through July 22, an extra two weeks' engagement. Following the Berkeley staging, the co-staging with La Jolla Playhouse moves to the San Diego venue for a run July 31-Sept. 2.
While The Laramie Project is being filmed for HBO, some actors performed only on certain dates. James Asher, Amy Resnick and Stephen Belber played May 18-June 17, while Andy Paris and Kelli Simpkins perform June 19-July 8. All dates feature Amanda Gronich, Mercedes Herrero, John McAdams, Greg Pierotti and Barbara Pitts.
Berkeley Repertory Theatre is located at 2025 Addison Street. For tickets ($15.99-$51), call (510) 845-4700. Berkeley Rep is on the web at http://www.berkeleyrep.org.
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. Exteriors and establishing shots will go on in Wyoming for two weeks before a month of shooting in Denver, a member of the production team told Playbill On-Line.
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 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 that played Denver, Off Broadway (May-September 2000) and has since had regional productions.
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