For one final time, the complete original cast of The Laramie Project replays the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard and its effects on the town of Laramie, Wyoming in an engagement opening Aug. 5 at La Jolla Playhouse. This co-production with Berkeley Repertory Theatre of San Francisco began in San Diego July 31 for a run through Sept. 2.
The Laramie Project features 2001 Kesselring Prize nominee Stephen Belber, Andy Paris, Kelli Simpkins, Amanda Gronich, Mercedes Herrero, John McAdams, Greg Pierotti and Barbara Pitts. The eight actors play over 40 different roles including themselves.
Tickets are $19-$42. For reservations, call (858) 550-1010. La Jolla Playhouse is on the web at http://www.lajollaplayhouse.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 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