On the heels of President Obama’s historic announcement on his support for gay marriage, the Bergen County Players (BCP) is proud to present a limited engagement of The Laramie Project, written by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project. BCP will hold special post-show talkbacks immediately following each performance on May 19 at 2:00 PM and May 20 at 7:00 PM. Hailed by Time Magazine as one of the “Top Ten Plays of the Year 2000,” The Laramie Project is a thought provoking, critically acclaimed and emotionally riveting drama about the reaction to the 1998 murder of gay student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. A portion of the proceeds for this limited run will benefit the Tyler Clementi Foundation in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
The Laramie Project is an engrossing work of theatrical art, as well as an enlightening educational piece that typically captures the attention of audience members in ways they don’t anticipate. The Laramie Project post-show discussions will examine the impact of the play while at the same time help audience members better process what they have just seen in ways that can be life changing. For young people, such a discussion can be an opportunity for self-expression, and create a powerful venue for learning. The discussion will also address hate crimes and bullying in our community. Working closely with the Bergen County Players throughout the rehearsal process has been The Matthew Shepard Foundation, providing new insights and resources.
The following panelists will participate on BCP’s Laramie post-show talkback panels (on different nights):
The Cast of The Laramie Project
Alyson Cohn, the director of The Laramie Project (who will moderate)
Joe and/or Jane Clementi, Tyler Clementi's parents
Michael Tozzoli, CEO of West Bergen Mental Healthcare
Barbara Giarmo, President, PFLAG of Bergen County (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Romaine Patterson, national gay rights activist, radio personality, and author
Teen representatives from Spectrum, Bergen County Academies’ Queer-Straight Alliance
Representatives from Tectonic Theater Project, creators of The Laramie Project
Under the direction of Alyson Cohn of Wyckoff, a talented cast of eight actors portray more than sixty characters in The Laramie Project. The veteran cast includes Steve Bell of Teaneck, Amy Edelstein of New York City, Lena Grotticelli of Mahwah, Merielle Lupfer of Hillsdale, Chris Nelson of Westwood, Frank Osmers of Haworth, Sharon Podsada of Emerson, and Andrew Van Buskirk of Ridgewood.
THE TYLER CLEMENTI FOUNDATION was formed to promote awareness and respect for human dignity and privacy, as well as personal responsibility among our youth, in both their personal and digital lives. It supports young people at risk of suicide by promoting education and intervention for our youth, parents, teachers, and mentors. The Foundation’s goals are to raise awareness of the issues surrounding and support organizations concerned with suicide prevention, acceptance of LGBT teens, and education against internet cyber bullying.
PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) promotes the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons and their families and friends through support to cope with an adverse society; education to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy to end discrimination and to secure equal civic rights. The Bergen County chapter is a leading sponsor of The Rainbow Cafe Coalition (RCC), a coalition of concerned community activists and organizations coming together to provide a safe space for Northern NJ LGBTQI teens and their allies to meet.