Laramie Project: Ten Years Later

Tonight (October 12, 2009), Portland will be one of at least 150 cities to participate in a project to premiere “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, An Epilogue.”

The play is being performed on the same night on stages in all fifty states, Canada, Great Britain, Spain, Hong Kong and Australia. Portland’s edition will be a reading held in the Newmark Theatre, with a cast comprised of a “Who’s Who” of theater artists. Stan Foote, Artistic Director of Oregon Children’s Theatre is directing and Byron Beck, Portland's biggest gossip hound, will serve as narrator.

You all know the story, but here’s a recap: In October 1998, Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die in the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. A month after his murder, playwright Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project traveled to Laramie, where they conducted interviews with residents. Out of those interviews, they wrote the play “The Laramie Project,” which was later made into a film. The play and film have been seen by more than 30 million people.

Ten years later, Kaufman and the Tectonic Theater Project returned to Laramie to conduct new interviews. How had the community changed in the intervening decade? How is the event being reinterpreted over time? In addition to re-interviewing many residents, the team interviewed Matthew Shepard’s mother, Judy Shepard, and his murderer Aaron McKinney, who is serving two consecutive life sentences. The resulting play examines how the murder continues to reverberate in the community. Tectonic Theater Project has set up an "Online Community" website to collect blog posts, videos and photos of the event.

Tonight’s performance at the Newmark will be a reading without staging. Stan has assembled a cast comprised of many of his colleagues and talented theater artists and local figures. In addition to Byron Beck, the cast is:

Allen Nause (Artistic Director, Artists Repertory Theatre)
Scott Yarbrough (Artistic Director, Third Rail Repertory)
Beth Harper (Artistic Director, Portland Actors Conservatory)
Dan Murphy (Founding General Manager, Broadway Rose Theatre)
Rose Riordan (Associate Artistic Director, Portland Center Stage)
Helen Raptis (Host of AM Northwest, KATU)
Chris Murray
Paul Glazier
Sharonlee McLean
Troy Lakey
Kelley Marchant
Kathleen Cafiero
Jake Michels
Katie Sundt

The reading is a fundraising benefit for The Matthew Shepard Foundation and Basic Rights Oregon, and is sponsored by Bling Dental. The New Century Players, based in Milwaukie, Oregon is a producing partner. The New Century Players will be presenting a three-week run of the original production of “The Laramie Project” from October 16-31st.

When: Monday October 12, 2009

Where: Newmark Theater, PCPA, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland OR 97205

General Admission: $20, Student Discount Available, $50 VIP Ticket includes entrance to BLING VIP Party at Ten 01 with food by Tabla Mediterranean Bistro.

Tickets are on sale in person at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts Box Office and all Ticketmaster outlets.

By phone: call Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Or online at


Heather Petersen said...

YES! I was in the reading here in Athens, Ohio as Cathy Connely and Romaine Patterson. It was absolutely amazing to be a part of!

MightyToyCannon said...

Heather, I'm glad to hear that you participated in one of the 150 readings. Had you been in Portland, you would have loved seeing so many of your theater colleagues up on the Newmark stage. They did a great job.