Wright State Theatre presents the searing social drama ‘The Laramie Project’ in Herbst Theatre

Wright State Theatre’s production of “The Laramie Project” features, clockwise from top left, acting majors Spence Hall, Sydney Freihofer, Zavi Odetta, Matthew Shanahan and Ni-Ni Denker. (Photo courtesy of Wright State Theatre)

Wright State University Theatre will present the true-life drama “The Laramie Project” from Feb. 17–26 in the intimate Herbst Theatre in the Creative Arts Center.

Performances take place Feb. 17, 18, 24 and 25 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 19, 25 and 26 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors and $5 for students. Tickets can be purchased online or at the Creative Arts Center box office between noon and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“The Laramie Project,” by Moises Kaufman and the Tectonic Theatre Project, is about the reaction to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student. The story is told through the actual words of people who experienced the tragedy firsthand in Laramie, Wyoming. The play draws on hundreds of interviews conducted by the theatre company with residents of the town, company members’ journal entries and news reports.

“The Laramie Project” is directed by Josh Aaron McCabe, associate professor of acting at Wright State, who guides a company of eight student actors as they portray dozens of roles, moving fluidly from one identity to the next in simple and dramatically transformative ways.

“The Laramie Project” features scenic design by Natalie Jobe, costume design by Emma Green, lighting design by Alex Markley, sound design by James Dunlap and properties by John Lavarnway. Dylan Serrano is the stage manager.

The production is supported by several Wright State and Dayton area organizations, including Wright State University’s LGBTQA Center, The Rubi Girls and The Muse Machine.

Muse Machine teachers will attend a special performance that will be followed by a discussion with a member of the Tectonic Theatre Project.

Wright State’s Choral Music Program will present “Considering Matthew Shepard,” by Craig Hella Johnson, on March 26 in Schuster Hall in the Creative Arts Center.

Emily Yantis-Houser, associate director of the Wright State LGBTQA Center, said that Shepard’s murder was a tragic but pivotal moment for the LGBTQ+ movement and inspired a surge of political activism for LGBTQ+ rights.

“It is imperative for the Wright State community, particularly our LGBTQ+ community, that we reignite the memory of Matthew Shepard by sparking dialogue and activism, which is why the LGBTQA Center is proud to sponsor this production of ‘The Laramie Project’ on our campus,” Yantis-Houser said.

2022–23 theatre season

Wright State Theatre’s season concludes with “On The Town” in the Festival Playhouse from March 17–April 8.

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