On the heels of the U.S. Justice Department issuing its first indictment under the hate crimes protection law afforded by the Matthew Shepard Act, 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. 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 an incomprehensible crime that thrusts a small town into the national spotlight. A portion of the proceeds for this limited run will benefit the Tyler Clementi Foundation in Ridgewood, New Jersey.
Under the direction of Alyson Cohn, THE LARAMIE PROJECT will be performed only twice at the Little Firehouse Theatre in Oradell on Saturday, May 19th at 2:00 pm and Sunday, May 20th at 7:00 pm. All tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at www.bcplayers.org, by calling 201-261-4200 or by visiting the box office at 298 Kinderkamack Road in Oradell during regular box office hours. Immediately following each performance of The Laramie Project there will be a special post-show Talkback session with the cast, crew and director, as well as with representatives of the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) community to answer questions raised by the play. The discussion will also address local bullying and hate crimes.
On October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay college student, was kidnapped, savagely beaten and left to die while tied to a fence on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming. His bloody, bruised and battered body was not discovered until the next day, and he died several days later in an area hospital. This act of brutality and hate shocked the nation. In The Laramie Project, a chorus of voices brings to life the thoughts and feelings of the people of Laramie, Wyoming as they react to the murder, which was denounced as a hate crime motivated by homophobia. The play brought attention to the lack of hate crime laws in various states, including Wyoming.
Matthew Shepard's murder became a national symbol of intolerance. This single event was examined within the framework of a portrait of Laramie by company members of Tectonic Theatre Project and director Moisés Kaufman, who spent a year conducting hundreds of interviews with the town's affected citizens. Out of those candid interviews, company members’ own journal entries and published news reports comes this play—a riveting, deeply moving and inspiring theater event. New York Magazine said, "The Laramie Project is a terrific piece of theatre, history, and life... Nothing short of stunning.”
The Laramie Project will be directed by Alyson Cohn of Wyckoff. Cohn is both a seasoned performer and director. Her BCP directing credits include Glengarry Glen Ross, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest; Angels in America: Millennium Approaches; Six Degrees of Separation; The Heidi Chronicles; Proposals; True West; Art; and Proof, which won the 2006 Perry Award for Best Production of a Play. “For me this play is no longer about Laramie or a particular victim,” says Cohn. “Hate crimes are committed everywhere at every minute of every day. Unfortunately, this story and those like it cannot be overstated, overdone or overplayed.”
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 production team includes Producer Kathie Robitz (Westwood), Assistant to the Director Sara Vela (New City, NY), Stage Manager Michele Roth (New Milford), Set Design and Construction by Timothy Meola (Flanders), Lighting Design by Alan Seward (Bardonia, NY) and Timothy Meola (Flanders), Sound Design by Rob DeScherer (Woodcliff Lake), Costumes by Rosella DeVincenzo (Oradell) and Katie Lupfer (Tenafly), Properties and Sound Operation by Paul Reitnauer III (Demarest), Lighting Operation by John Kiely (Allendale), Photography by Alan Zenreich (Oradell), and Program Notes by Marci Weinstein (Teaneck).