Showing posts with label The Laramie Project. Show all posts
Showing posts with label The Laramie Project. Show all posts

Monday, May 28, 2018

OPENING: THE LARAMIE PROJECT Via AstonRep Theatre Company at The Raven Theatre June 7 – July 8, 2018

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

AstonRep Theatre Company Presents
By Moisés Kaufman & the Members of Tectonic Theater Project
 Directed by Associate Artistic Director Derek Bertelsen 
June 7 – July 8, 2018 at The Raven Theatre

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we caught The Laramie Project at Red Twist Theatre several years ago and it's a powerful script that packs a punch. In these times of eroding human rights and protections for society's vulnerable, just as hate crimes are ramping up, this story is one that needs to be seen and heard again and again. Kudos to AstonRep for tackling this topic and keeping this vital production in the public eye.  

AstonRep Theatre Company is pleased to conclude its 2017-18 season with THE LARAMIE PROJECT, a community's deeply-moving response to the 1998 murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard, written by Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theater Project and directed by Associate Artistic Director Derek Bertelsen. THE LARAMIE PROJECT will play June 7 – July 8, 2018 at The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at or by calling (773) 828-9129. 

THE LARAMIE PROJECT features an ensemble cast including Dana Anderson*, Alexandra Bennett*, Liz Cloud, Rob Frankel, Matthew Harris*, Roberto Jay, Amy Kasper*, Ray Kasper*, Erin O’Brien, Sara Pavlak McGuire*, Peter Surma and Chelsea Turner.

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. As we near the twentieth anniversary, 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 production team for THE LARAMIE PROJECT includes Jeremiah Barr* (scenic design, props design, technical director), Uriel Gomez (costume design), Samantha Barr* (lighting design, production manager), Robert Tobin* (sound design), Krista Hansen (dialect coach), Aja Wiltshire* (music director), Sara Pavlak McGuire* (assistant director), Dana Anderson* (assistant director, dramaturg), Melanie Thompson (assistant production manager) and Kendal Romero (stage manager).

*Denotes AstonRep Company Members.

Location: The Raven Theatre (West Stage), 6157 N. Clark St., Chicago
Dates: Preview: Thursday, June 7 and Friday, June 8 at 8 pm
Press performance: Saturday, June 9 at 8 pm
Regular run: Sunday, June 10 – Sunday, July 8, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3:30 pm
Tickets: Previews: $12; Regular run: $25. Student/seniors $15. Tickets go on sale at or by calling (773) 828-9129.

About the Director

Derek Bertelsen (Director) currently serves as Associate Artistic Director for AstonRep Theatre Company. Previous directing credits with AstonRep include Eleemosynary (co-director with Jeremiah Barr), The Black Slot, The Lyons, Lieutenant of Inishmore, Wit, Next Fall and Doubt. Other Chicago directing credits include Prelude To A Kiss, Mary-Kate Olsen Is In Love (The Comrades, where is serves as Artistic Director), Design for Living, The Children’s Hour (Pride Films & Plays), God of Carnage, The Dinner Party (BrightSide Theater). Regional credits include Brighton Beach Memoirs (Festival 56), The Wizard of Oz (Shawnee Summer Theater), and five seasons at Timber Lake Playhouse including Rumors, Boeing-Boeing, and Monty Python’s Spamalot. Assistant directing credits include RACE (Goodman), Angry Fags (Steppenwolf Garage), and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Bailiwick Chicago).

About AstonRep Theatre Company:
AstonRep Theatre Company was formed in the summer of 2008. Since then, the company has produced 21 full-length productions and nine annual Writers’ Series. AstonRep Theatre Company is an ensemble of artists committed to creating exciting, intimate theatrical experiences that go beyond the front door to challenge audiences and spark discussion where the show is not the end of the experience: it is just the beginning.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


DePaul Students Respond to Ole Miss Incident Through Performance

Bullying awareness month (October) is over, but huge (potentially lethal) societal issues like bullying should be front and center year round.   We've seen The Laramie Project & the thought provoking follow up, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later at Red Twist Theatre   We highly recommend coming out for this free reading.   Bring your mature tweens and up. Teach tolerance.

The Theatre School at DePaul University will host a staged reading of THE LARAMIE PROJECT by Moisés Kaufman and The Members of the Tectonic Theater Project, directed by Theatre School adjunct faculty member Carolyn Hoerdemann. The reading will be followed by a moderated question/answer session, and breakout discussions.

As a response to a group of students heckling a production of THE LARAMIE PROJECT at Ole Miss, DePaul University students enrolled in a theatre course have organized a reading of THE LARAMIE PROJECT at The Theatre School at DePaul University, in order to promote tolerance and to show active solidarity with all students at the University of Mississippi. 

Ole Miss student, Garrison Gibbons, who was a member of the cast during the reading at the University of Mississippi, will be reprising his role and joining the ensemble of DePaul University students for this reading. 

Also in attendance will be Susan Burk, Laramie Project Specialist at the Matthew Shepard Foundation. Ms. Burk is also an alumna of The Theatre School at DePaul University.  She will participate as an ensemble member in the reading, and will facilitate the post-show conversation. 

This event is co-sponsored by:  DePaul University's Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, LGBTQA Student Services, the Center for Intercultural Studies, and ACT OUT DePaul.  Members of the DePaul Athletic Department Captains' Council are involved as student leaders in the break-out discussions. The Theatre School at DePaul University (Dexter Zollicoffer, Diversity Advisor) is pleased to partner with these organizations and departments. 

November 18, 2013 at 6 PM

The Merle and Harold Reskin Lobby at The Theatre School at DePaul University. 2350 N Racine Ave (at Fullerton), Chicago, IL 60614

Please call the Box Office for more information, specific directions, and suggestions to help plan your trip. 

"The students of DePaul University's Performance 290 course for non-majors, and our special guests, are proud to present a reading of The Laramie Project to be held at the university campus in Lincoln Park on November 18th, 2013. The recent events at Ole Miss have brought into public attention that there are many people who still suffer from discrimination for their personal identity.  A group of Ole Miss football players made derogatory and homophobic remarks to the cast of The Laramie Project being produced at the school.  As a response, we have been inspired to continue carrying the message of acceptance and unity."  

Admission is free.  All are welcome to attend. 


This reading is hosted by The Theatre School at DePaul University.  To learn more about our training and our public programming, please visit  

Monday, March 19, 2012

ACT OUT: The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later at Redtwist Theatre (Review)

Where else can you currently see 8 actors take on upwards of 50 characters in two interrelated shows?!

Redtwist Theatre is one of our local favorites, with a long string of Jeff recommended productions, and an intimate performance space.   They've got a new entry way into their black box space, off the front lobby now, and a thought provoking show that provides a new entry way into the hot button issue of how hate impacts society.  We've been promoting The Laramie Project:  Ten Years Later since February, on our Facebook and Twitter streams, but if you still haven't seen it yet, you just have until April 7th to check it out.   

We were blown away by Red Twist's current and incredibly timely offering, The Laramie Project:  Ten Years Later.   The choice of simple costume pieces ...glasses here, a tie there, and the presentation of the show on a bare bones set, only serve to accentuate the immensity of the content.   Thirteen years after the horrific beating death of Matthew Shepard, hate crime protection has finally been enacted on the federal level by President Obama, after his two predecessors failed, yet hate crimes, harassment and bullying are still increasing.  As Matthew's mother so eloquently states, "These plays are not about being gay.  They are about being hurt for being different, or perceived to be different, whatever that difference may be."    As the right wing amps up the hate rhetoric to the point where gay teen suicides are in the news frequently and bullies feel sanctified in their violence against others, this production's message is as urgent as ever.

I was saddened though not surprised by the townspeople's collective amnesia, and eagerness to spin history to support a more palpable view of themselves.   A mere ten years later, people who once saw irrefutable court room proof of a heinous, lethal gay bashing, bandied about victim blaming falsehoods about a drug deal gone bad.   Who wants to openly identify with a homicidal homophobic town where peaceful college students are killed for pocket change and partner preferences?   It seems a robbery co-opted into a hate crime by liberals, to advance their politics, is an easier lie to believe.   

On a parallel note, my husband's presently on a TV shoot
with someone who was a student at Columbine during the shootings, and
she recently met with similar resistance and hostility when she wanted
to make a 10 year documentary.   Even as an insider, many of her
classmates refused to talk to her and were adamantly against the
project.   People wanted to forget and not dredge up the past, and gave her so much resistance that the project may not advance.

Still, for all the haters and amnesiacs, there is an encouragingly dogged group in Laramie and beyond, still making sure Matthew's death meant something, and will make a difference for future generations.  The scene of the gay marriage political debate and vote gave me hope, as well.   Even with our current two steps forward, one step back, politics in 2012, there are still leaders who will cross conservative and liberal lines and party views to vote with wisdom and compassion.   This courageous and vital set of shows spread the message to that many more people.   Suggested for adults audiences and mature teens.   Highly recommended.

L-R: Jan Ellen Graves, Gene Cordon, Eleanor Katz, Matt Babbs, Matthew Klingler,Lisa Herceg, Kurt Brocker, Devon Candura,  Photo: Kimberly Loughlin

The Laramie
Project: Ten Years Later

Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg
Pierotti, Andy Paris, and Stephen

Directed by three-time Jeff Award-winner, Greg

The ten-year epilogue is a companion piece to
the iconic, The
Laramie Project

one of the most-produced plays in the U.S. and
around the world.


On October 6, 1998, a gay University of Wyoming
student, Matthew Shepard, left the Fireside Bar in
Laramie, Wyoming, with Aaron McKinney and Russell
Henderson. The following day he was discovered at
the edge of town. He was tied to a fence, brutally
beaten, and close to death.

By the following day, Matthew's attack and the town
of Laramie had become the focus of an international
news story. On October 12, 1998, Matthew Shepard
died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Ft. Collins,

On November 14, 1998, the members of Tectonic
Theater Project traveled to Laramie, Wyoming, and
conducted interviews with the people of the town.
During the next year, Tectonic would return to
Laramie several times and conduct over two hundred
interviews. The play that resulted is edited from
those interviews, as well as from journal entries by
members of the company and other found texts.


The Laramie Project premiered at The Ricketson
Theatre, performed by the Denver Center Theatre
Company in February, 2000. It was then performed at
the Union Square Theater in New York City, before a
November, 2002, performance in Laramie, Wyoming. The
play has also been performed by high schools,
colleges, and community theaters across the country,
as well as professional playhouses around the world.
In addition, the HBO film directed by Moisés
Kaufman, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in
March, 2002.

The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later is the
epilogue to the original. Ten years after Shepard's
murder, members of the Tectonic Theater Project
returned to Laramie to conduct follow-up interviews
with residents featured in the original play. Those
interviews were turned into this companion piece.

The play debuted as a simultaneous reading at nearly
150 theatres across the US and internationally on
October 12, 2009 - the 11th anniversary of Matthew
Shepard’s death. Most of the theaters were linked by
webcam to New York City where Judy Shepard and the
play's producers and writers gave an opening speech
to begin this unique memorial and evening of

Greg Kolack, former Artistic Director of Circle
Theatre, has won three Jeff Awards as Best Director,
most recently for columbinus,
at Raven Theatre.
Greg has been interested in
directing these two projects together since the
nationwide reading in 2009. Several years ago, he
visited Laramie to gather research for the project.
On January 6, 2012, Greg made his second trip to
Laramie on the cusp of the rehearsal period, to meet
with various real-life characters depicted in
The Laramie Project.
His travelogue, reported via email to the cast each
evening was filled with first-person reports shared
by the locals who lived through the experience, and
who shared with Greg their unique insights and
poignant reflections on the events over thirteen
years ago that catalyzed tectonic change in our
society. Greg’s diligent research and his eye for
detail as an award-winning director, will surely
inform and enliven this production with a unique
theatrical style.

Both shows will be performed by only eight actors,
who portray dozens of roles in our signature,
intimate space. The actors and director have
personally talked with the real characters in the
play, and also with members of the Tectonic Theater
Project. A number of post-show discussions are
scheduled for groups and upon special request.

Matt Babbs, Kurt Brocker, Devon Candura, Gene
Cordon, Lisa Herceg, Jan Ellen Graves, Eleanor Katz,
Matthew Klingler

Greg Kolack (Director), Allison Queen (Stage
Manager), Amanda Lautermilch (Assistant Stage
Manager), Justin Castellano (Tech Director), Andrei
Onegin (Set Designer), Rachel Spear (Sound
Designer), Christopher Burpee (Lighting Designer), kClare Kemock (Costume Designer), Mary Reynard
Liss (Vocal Coach) Jan Ellen Graves (Graphic
Designer), Charles Bonilla (Box Office Manager),
Johnny Garcia (Associate Producer), Michael Colucci
& Jan Ellen Graves (Producers)


The Laramie Project (the

Saturdays Mar 17, 24, 31, Apr 7, at 3pm

Running time: approx.
2:30 incl. 2 intermissions


The Laramie
Project: Ten Years Later

Performs:  Thu, Fri, Sat at 7:30pm
& Sun at 3pm, Also April 1 at 7:30pm

Sat, Apr 7, 7:30pm

Running Time:
approx. 1:45 incl. 1

Thursdays, $25; Fridays &
Sundays, $27; Saturdays, $30 (seniors & students
$5 off)

Group Rates:
Special discounts for groups
of 10 or more, and groups of 25 or more





Redtwist is located at 1044 W Bryn Mawr, 2 blks W of
LSD, 2 blks E of the Red Line El station. Street
parking (paybox/meters until 9pm) is available on
Bryn Mawr, side streets, and Broadway. Please
reserve 48 hours in advance. Credit cards accepted
by phone and via Paypal to guarantee seating.

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