Ford's Theatre Presents THE LARAMIE PROJECT, Now thru 10/27
The centerpiece of this year's programming for The Lincoln Legacy Project-an effort to generate dialogue around issues of diversity, equality and acceptance-The Laramie Project presents a deeply complex portrait of a community's response to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man living in Laramie, Wyoming. In a series of poignant reflections, the residents of Laramie react to the hate crime and surrounding media storm with anger, bewilderment and sorrow. The play portrays the seismic and deeply personal impact Matthew's death had on this small town while also demonstrating the power of the human spirit to triumph over bigotry and violence. Fifteen years later, Matthew Shepard's story still reverberates, urging us on with its clarion call to confront the destructive power of bullying and hate, in all forms.
"The idea behind the creation of The Laramie Project was to shed light on a town's diverse reaction to the killing of Matthew Shepard, and to do so in an objective way that does not preach for one side or the other, but profoundly illuminates the sociological implications of a hateful crime," said director Matthew Gardiner. "I am excited to work with this strong Washington cast to create a production that feels as daring and provocative as the Ford's Theatre decision to do this piece."
"When we began planning for The Lincoln Legacy Project three years ago, I knew that we must include this play as part of our exploration of intolerance and injustice in America," said Ford's Theatre Director Paul R. Tetreault. "It has been 15 years since Matthew died, but his story still reverberates. Our exploration of the issues raised by The Laramie Project will continue in multiple forms, including special Monday night panel discussions, a world-premiere exhibition of letters received by the Shepard family in the wake of Matthew's death, and other commemorative events throughout October. We hope that the Washington community will join us at Ford's Theatre this fall to better understand this story and continue discussions about how we can work toward erasing hate and promoting acceptance in our community."
The Laramie Project is made possible with support from Lead Sponsor LockheEd Martin Corporation and sponsors Oshkosh Corporation, Siemens Corporation and Qualcomm. The Washington Post is the Official Media Partner for The Laramie Project and The Lincoln Legacy Project. The Ford's Theatre 2013-2014 Season Sponsors are The Home Depot and Chevron.
THE DIRECTOR: Matthew Gardiner makes his Ford's Theatre directorial debut with The Laramie Project. He has directed and/or choreographed more than 25 productions including the recent Company and Dreamgirls at Virginia's Signature Theatre, where he also serves as Associate Artistic Director. Gardiner's New York credits include productions for Circle in the Square and the New York Musical Theatre Festival. He also has directed productions for the Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, Everyman Theatre and Catholic University of America.
THE CAST: The cast for The Laramie Project is comprised of acclaimed Washingtonian actors including Kimberly Gilbert, Mitchell Hébert, Amy McWilliams, Eric M. Messner, Paul Scanlan, Kimberly Schraf, Chris Stezin, Katherine Renee Turner, Holly Twyford and Craig Wallace.