On Monday October 12, 150 theaters around the world will perform The Laramie Project; Ten Years Later. The play is about playwright Moises Kaufman’s return to the historical town where a young Matthew Shepard was killed by teenage locals in 1998.
The Los Angeles production is brought to you by The Gay Men’s Chorus of LA and Santa Monica’s Broad Stage Theatre. Monday’s 7:30pm show is a benefit for the GMCLA’s new high school music education program and will feature songs written exclusively for the play by the Chorus.
GLAAD spoke with GMCLA Director, Hywel Sims, who is passionate about being involved with the Laramie Project: Ten Years Later. “At stake is the continuing safety of LGBT people everywhere.”
Kaufman’s original play, The Laramie Project, depicted the events of Shepard’s brutal murder. The made for TV adaptation was nominated for four Emmys, won the first Special Mention Movie Award at the Berlin International Film Festival and won a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Television Movie.
Last year Kaufman went back to Laramie and interviewed one of Shepard’s convicted killers, Aaron McKinney; the cop who worked on the case, and Matthew’s mom, Judy Shepard, who continues her fight to get the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act passed. The Laramie Project; Ten Years Later shows us what has changed – and what hasn’t.
As we approach Sunday’s National Coming Out Day, it’s important to remember the story of Matthew Shepard and other teens that struggle to be out and feel safe.
Each of the theaters involved in this historic production is putting a unique stamp on Kaufman’s work. The Gay Men’s Chorus will add music to their performance enhancing their mission to use music to “hasten the end of homophobia.”
One of the GMCLA main goals is working to educate high school students is to make LGBT hate crimes a thing of the past.
When asked if the The Laramie Project would continue on in ten year installments Sims replied:
"I’d argue that queer communities need to learn a few things about preserving our past, and remember how life was for LGBT people. The Laramie Project will survive as an example of a time that once was – so that Laramie Project Thirty, Forty and Fifty will be both a reminder of the past and (hopefully) a celebration of a freer world."
In this spirit let’s remember that LGBT awareness is vital and worth fighting for; and for us to never forget the past but also be positive and courageous about the future.
If you are interested in seeing The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, please go to The Gay Men’s Chorus Website for more information on tickets and future programming