The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman

Academic Year: 
The Laramie Project

The Common Reading Program at Appalachian State is pleased to announce the 2018-19 book selection: The Laramie Project by Moisés Kaufman and the Members of Tectonic Theater Project. The Laramie Project is a play about the community of Laramie, Wyoming in the aftermath of the 1998 tragic murder of Matthew Shepard, who was a gay student at the University of Wyoming. The murder was denounced as a hate crime and sparked a national debate.

Members of the Tectonic Theater Project flew from New York City to Laramie and interviewed over 100 members of the community about their reactions to the murder and to the media attention that engulfed their town. The resulting play presents the perspectives of multiple people simultaneously, including the citizens of Laramie, members of the Tectonic Theater Project, and members of the media. The themes that emerge from this documentary-style play transcend the small town of Laramie, making The Laramie Project one of the most performed plays in America. Matthew Shepard was killed 20 years ago this fall.

Director of the Common Reading Program, Dr. Martha McCaughey, said, "The Laramie Project represents a creative and illuminating response to an act of inhumane violence. The various perspectives about exclusion, violence, and community membership offered by The Laramie Project are quite relevant for our incoming first-year students, whom we hope will engage in discussions about the issues that shape our community."

Jason Marsden, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, stated, "Over the last two decades, Judy Shepard has delivered her message of inclusion and compassion to more than 800 colleges, workforces, and community organizations. I can easily say that Appalachian State's 2018 programs are amongst the rare few that include such a comprehensive, and impressive, set of events around the common theme of erasing hate."

About the Author
Moisés Kaufman

Moisés Kaufman is the founder and artistic director of Tectonic Theater Project, a Tony- and Emmy-nominated director and playwright, and a 2015 recipient of the National Medal of Arts. Mr. Kaufman’s Broadway directing credits include the revival of The Heiress with Jessica Chastain, 33 Variations (which he also wrote) starring Jane Fonda (5 Tony nominations); Rajiv Joseph’s Pulitzer Prize finalist Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo with Robin Williams; and Doug Wright’s Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play I Am My Own Wife with Jefferson Mays.

His play The Laramie Project (which he wrote with the Tectonic Theater Project company) is among the most performed plays in America. Other credits include Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde (which he also wrote), The Tallest Tree in the Forest (Mark Taper, BAM), The Nightengale (La Jolla Playhouse), The Common Pursuit (Roundabout), Macbeth with Liev Schreiber (Public Theater), This Is How It Goes (Donmar Warehouse), One Arm by Tennessee Williams (New Group and Steppenwolf Theatre Company), the opera El Gato con Botas(Puss in Boots) at the New Victory Theater, and Master Class with Rita Moreno (Berkeley Repertory Theatre). Kaufman also co-wrote and directed the HBO film adaptation of The Laramie Project, which received two Emmy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Writer. He is an Obie winner and a Guggenheim Fellow in Playwriting.


Fall 2018 Events

Judy Shepard, the mother of the late Matthew Shepard and President of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, will speak at Black & Gold Convocation on Monday, Aug. 20, 2018. Throughout the academic year, McCaughey said, students will remain engaged with the book's themes through Welcome Weekend discussions, their First Year Seminar classes, and at the events being held on campus.

The Department of Theatre & Dance will be producing The Laramie Project, directed by Teresa Lee, Professor of Theatre. The play runs from Oct. 2-Oct. 9 in Valborg Theatre (except Oct 6). Tickets to the play can be purchased here.

The stage goes dark (no performance) on Saturday, Oct. 6--the 20th anniversary of the brutal beating of Matthew Shepard--and that evening at 7:00pm there will be a candlelight vigil remembering Matthew Shepard and all victims of hate. The event, organized by Appalachian's LGBT Center, will be held in the Parkway Ballroom of Plemmons Student Union. The vigil runs from 7:00-8:00pm. (Please note: flameless candles only at this event.)

Spring 2019 Events

Tuesday, March 12, 2019
"After Equality: Where Should the LGBTQ Movement Go From Here?" Faculty Panel
5:00 - 6:30 pm

Belk Library, Room 114

Organized by the Department of Sociology and the Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies Program


Angela Brooks-Livingston - Out in the High Country

Jill Ehnenn - Department of English and Affiliate Faculty of Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies Program

Matthew Thomas-Reid - Department of Leadership and Educational Studies and Affiliate Faculty of Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies Program

Sunday, April 7, 2019
Film Screening: The Laramie Project

7:00-8:30pm I.G. Greer Theatre

Concessions available: Drinks $1, candy $2, and popcorn $3, $4, & $6 --CASH ONLY!

Appalachian Popular Programming Society Films Council
Monday, April 8, 2019
Moisés Kaufman - Lecture - "Theater in 2018 - The Vicinity of Hope"
7:00 - 8:30pm Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Moisés Kaufman - Reading and Book Signing
9:30 - 11:00am Grandfather Mountain Ballroom, Plemmons Student Union

Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Taste of Dialogue: Conversation on the Laramie Project - Sustained Dialogue6:00 - 8:00pm Blue Ridge Ballroom, Plemmons Student Union