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BWW Interview: Kody C Jones, Director of THE LARAMIE PROJECT Virtual Staged Reading by Florida Rep Education

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Join Florida Rep Education for this impactful play reading, broadcast live from their Historic Arcade Theatre!

BWW Interview: Kody C Jones, Director of THE LARAMIE PROJECT Virtual Staged Reading by Florida Rep EducationFlorida Repertory Theatre's Education program is performing a staged virtual reading of THE LARAMIE PROJECT this Friday, October 23 at 6 PM. It will be broadcast live from their Historic Arcade Theatre Stage. Florida Rep is suggesting donations of $10 for students and $15 for adults to support their Education program.

I asked Florida Rep's Education Director Kody C Jones a few questions about THE LARAMIE PROJECT and what it means to hold this virtual staged reading at a time like this. Check it out below!

First, can you tell us what The Laramie Project is about?

This play investigates the death of Matthew Shepherd, the trial of his murderers, and the effect this tragedy had on the town of Laramie, Wyoming and how it resonated throughout the entire country, eventually fueling the Human Rights movement and its mission for equality and change.

Most people will remember, although our youth may not, that on October 12, 1998, a 21-year-old gay college student was tortured and killed because of his sexuality in Laramie, Wyoming. This tragic event struck a chord throughout the country and grew in a way we've never seen before as our society was forced to examine the issue of equality based on sexual orientation, an issue that had previously been swept under the rug.

What kind of impact has The Laramie Project had on you and the cast during this process, and what do you hope audiences take away from this virtual staged reading?

It's had a deep effect on all of us. Many of the kids had never even heard of Matthew Shepherd and were shocked and appalled on hearing about the event. They couldn't fathom that someone would do this to a human being based on his orientation. Their empathy quickly turned into passion and a personal responsibility for telling this story accurately and in the best way possible. For me, it brought back deeply personal memories, that over time were subconsciously buried. I was a fifteen-year-old confused adolescent when Matthew's murder took place. I remember feeling afraid and unwanted or unnatural. That the world was against me because of what they did to Matthew, and listening to horrible things they were saying on TV and on the news. It was a very different time 22 years ago, and luckily we've taken large strides forward in our society, but there is still a very long way to go as we try to extinguish hate educate each one another. We hope this show sends a message of love and humanity, and during a period of so much division in our country, that it shines a light on the beauty and importance of our differences and how we can still come together and respect each other as a people.

Finally, do you have any other exciting virtual (or in-person) productions in the works that you'd like to share with our readers?

Yes!!! So many things coming up! Many we can't announce just yet but definitely be on the lookout for our Conservatory productions of Godspell and Godspell JR in January and February. We're very excited to be joined by Broadway veteran Curtis Holbrook as he joins our team as the show's choreographer. We'll also be producing another conservatory production in April, both Into the Woods and Into the Woods JR.

Thank you so much to Kody C Jones for sharing about THE LARAMIE PROJECT. Be sure to check out this impactful virtual reading tomorrow, Friday, October 23, and support Florida Rep Education! To get tickets to THE LARAMIE PROJECT and donate to Florida Rep Education, click here:

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From This Author Emily Yorgey