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Photos: First Look at THE LARAMIE PROJECT From First Stage's Young Company

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THE LARAMIE PROJECT runs December 3- 12, 2021 at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center.

First Stage's Young Company, the Theater Academy's award-winning training program for advanced high school actors, present THE LARAMIE PROJECT as their first Performance Project for the 2021/22 season and first in-person production since the pandemic began.

Written by award-winning playwright Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project, and directed by First Stage Young Company alum Elyse Edelman, this riveting production tells the story of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, an openly gay college student, who was brutally beaten in October 1998 and left to die on the plains outside Laramie, Wyoming. Hailed as one of the most captivating and encompassing pieces of contemporary theater, THE LARAMIE PROJECT is a breathtaking collage that explores the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which it is capable.

THE LARAMIE PROJECT runs December 3 - 12, 2021 at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, located at 325 W. Walnut Street in downtown Milwaukee. Tickets are $15. Tickets are available online at firststage.org or through the First Stage Box Office at (414) 267-2961. Performance runtime is approximately two hours and twenty minutes, which includes two brief intermissions. Suggested for families and young people ages 13+.

Warning: This play is based on a true story and includes strong language and mature content that some may find upsetting, including descriptions of homophobia, violence and death.

Director Elyse Edelman shared her thoughts on the production: "THE LARAMIE PROJECT is a significant piece of theater history, and its relevance needs no debate. The artists who developed the play left us some guiding questions to answer: How did this happen? How do we breed monsters? It has been 23 years since Matthew Shepard's tragic death, and I add the question: How do we measure change?

I am truly inspired and impressed with the young actors in this cast. As actors in training the students are learning to chameleon into roles - transforming voice and body. And as artists they are appreciating that the role of actor and activist can be blended. They are equally passionate about truthful performances as they are about the message of the material."

Added Young Company Director Matt Daniels: "THE LARAMIE PROJECT is an incredibly powerful piece of documentary theater which remains relevant 20 years after the events it discusses. Directed by Young Company alum Elyse Edelman, who is herself a master of transformation, a handful of student actors will play dozens of the citizens of Laramie, Wyoming as they explore the story of Matthew Shepard, who was lynched simply for being gay. This piece is a perfect fit for the Young Company's signature minimalist, actor-driven performance projects, and I can't wait to see it myself!"

Young Company Performance Projects are actor-driven presentations using elemental production values. By stripping down to a nearly bare stage, the connection of actor to audience is enhanced, and the words of the play come alive in exciting ways. These fully rehearsed studio projects allow First Stage's award-winning students to showcase their graduate level skills with full-length material, from Shakespeare to American classics to pieces commissioned specially for them.

Photo Credit: Paul Ruffolo

Photos: First Look at THE LARAMIE PROJECT From First Stage's Young Company
The Cast of THE LARAMIE PROJECT

Photos: First Look at THE LARAMIE PROJECT From First Stage's Young Company
The Cast of THE LARAMIE PROJECT

Photos: First Look at THE LARAMIE PROJECT From First Stage's Young Company
Austin Bock and Cast in THE LARAMIE PROJECT

Photos: First Look at THE LARAMIE PROJECT From First Stage's Young Company
Costello Mylott and the Cast of THE LARAMIE PROJECT

Photos: First Look at THE LARAMIE PROJECT From First Stage's Young Company
Magdalyn Rowley-Lange, Ana Gutierrez, Leo Madson and the Cast of THE LARAMIE PROEJCT

Photos: First Look at THE LARAMIE PROJECT From First Stage's Young Company
Angel Rivera and the Cast of THE LARAMIE PROJECT


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