Laramie Project to Be HBO Film; Off-Bway Staging Waning

News   Laramie Project to Be HBO Film; Off-Bway Staging Waning The Laramie Project, Moises Kaufman's unique, presentational stage docudrama about responses to the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard, will be an HBO movie, a spokesman for the play confirmed.

The Laramie Project, Moises Kaufman's unique, presentational stage docudrama about responses to the murder of gay college student Matthew Shepard, will be an HBO movie, a spokesman for the play confirmed.

Moises Kaufman, who co-wrote and directed the Off-Broadway drama, which opened in May at the Union Square Theatre, will pen the screenplay, according to an Aug. 4 article in Variety.

Laramie's Off-Broadway producer, Roy Gabay, told Variety the picture will be a "full-fledged movie," not a documentary. The stage show concerns members of a theatre group who travel to Laramie, WY, where Shepard was beaten to death in 1998, to take a cultural pulse, toward the goal of creating a play.

News of the film comes the same week as talk that the Off-Broadway production may close by September. Cast members have been told that the show may be ending within a month. A spokesman said the show has not announced closing.

Aug. 11 marks the 100th performance since opening May 18. Gabay, who could not be reached by Playbill On-Line, told Variety that his wish would be for the film to be produced soon, even if that means suspending the New York staging for a while, to utilize the New York cast.

Kaufman and members of his Tectonic Theater Project traveled, interviewed citizens and co-wrote the script, which had a tryout at Denver Center Theatre Company in early 2000. In the critically-lauded play, actors play themselves, their colleagues and the people of Laramie and environs. The audience is directly addressed in the piece.

Presumably, stars will play some of the choice character roles in the movie. Despite solid notices, the serious-minded play is having trouble getting audiences in the summer months. In general, serious work is shunned by audience in summer months: tourists want candy and resident New York theatregoers are out of town.

Regional theatres and universities are expected to be champing at the bit for rights to stage The Laramie Project, which has a provocative, human subject, a minimal set and eight ensemble roles.

For Union Square ticket information, call (212) 505 0770.

-- By Kenneth Jones