Wasatch Theater Company kicks off its 25th season with THE LARAMIE PROJECT, chronicling the assault and murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998. The Tectonic Theater Project traveled to the town of Laramie where the murder took place to interview residents immediately after the 1998 incident.
The city’s reactions and judgment are documented in the play, which runs October 6-15 at the MIdvalley Performing Arts Center in Taylorsville. Tickets are available through ArtTix for $25.00.
THE LARAMIE PROJECT uses real-life transcripts to describe how a town comes to terms with the murder of Matthew Shepard and how they trade their perceptions of the city with this barbaric act. The show, directed by Jim Martin, features artists from the community who come from a variety of backgrounds and backgrounds. During casting, special consideration was given to a diverse cast that does not represent what one might consider Laramie in 1998. The show’s lights and sound are an important part of the storytelling and are designed by Riley Merrill and then. Briton, respectively. Ben Brinton is a local musician who composed music specifically for this show. The soundscape also includes original works by actor Em Smiley, also a local musician.
The show is also complemented by screenings featuring original photographs by Lucas Bybee. Bybee is an award-winning local LOGan photographer who recently won Best of Show at the Utah Fair.
The Wasatch Theater Company chose to open its 25th season with THE LARAMIE PROJECT due to recent physical, emotional and social attacks on the LGBTQIA+ community. Since the authorization of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court of the United States, some people consider us beyond some of the revelations of the LARAMIE CYCLE. However, in Sandy, Utah, two young adults were recently threatened and assaulted because of their sexual orientation. Libraries and school districts across the country are banning books deemed inappropriate, often with LGBTQIA+ themes. Transgender youth and their needs continue to be misunderstood in schools. Transgender people are a real target of hate crimes across the country, and this statistic is on the rise.
Martin, Director of THE LARAMIE CYCLE and Executive Director of Wasatch Theater Company, said, “We chose to launch THE LARAMIE PROJECT with a diverse cast including members of the LGBTQIA+ community and actors of color. Some cast members weren’t even born. when Matthew Shepard was murdered. As a diverse community, we must keep the issues that surfaced in 1998 front and center as our nation grapples with the rise in hate crimes. We need to ensure that our education systems focus on LGBTQIA+ history and issues, including relevant and appropriate literature, to help young people recognize their role in affirming the LGBTQIA+ community. We also need to think about the roles we all play in allowing this type of anti-LGBTQIA+ behavior to exist. This piece is a very important production at this precise moment in history.”
Masks are recommended but not required.
Wasatch Theater Company is a local theater organization that has been around since 1997. The group performed in venues such as delis and coffee shops before spending ten years at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Building in downtown Salt Lake. WTC is now The Gateway’s resident theater company and is housed in their performing arts space The Box. The WTC is thrilled to be back with Salt Lake County!