The Laramie Project is one of the most performed contemporary plays in the world. It came into being after the death, 20 years ago, of Matthew Shepard, who was attacked in an anti-gay hate crime on October 7, 1998. Shepard later died as a result of the injuries he sustained during the brutal attack.
Matthew Shepard was only 21 years old when the attack occurred. He was left on the side of the road afterward and died six days later in hospital as a result of severe head injuries. Perpetrators Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson were arrested not long after the attack and were charged with first-degree murder when Shepard died.
As a result of this terrible crime, The Laramie Project was formed. Headed by the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Tectonic Theater Project, this group traveled from New York to Laramie, Wyoming, to conduct interviews with the people of Laramie, the town where the attack took place.
As the 20-year anniversary of this crime approaches, Deadline has announced that Neil Patrick Harris and Mary Louise Parker will take part in Laramie: A Legacy. This one-night benefit reading event will be presented by the Tectonic Theater Project and is scheduled for Monday, September 24, at the Gerald Lynch Theater at John Jay College in Manhattan.
Tony-Award-winner Billy Porter will also join Neil Patrick Harris and Mary Louise Parker along with the original company of The Laramie Project – Stephen Belber, Amanda Gronich, Mercedes Herrero, Andy Paris, Greg Pierotti, Barbara Pitts McAdams, and Kelli Simpkins. Deadline also states that Moises Kaufman, founder of the Tectonic Theater Project, will direct Laramie: A Legacy.
Playbill has also announced there will be a PSA video being released in the lead up to the event. Partnered by the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Tectonic Theater Project, this video will feature Harvey Fierstein, Emmy Award nominee Zachary Quinto, Tony Award winner Annaleigh Ashford, Bridget Moynahan, Raul Castillo, and Obie Award winner Michael Urie. Alongside the actors in this video will be Judy and Dennis Shepard, Matthew’s parents. Playbill states the PSA video will be “released in the weeks leading up to Laramie: A Legacy.”
Tickets for Laramie: A Legacy can be purchased from Laramielegacy.org.