Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-08-15
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



THEATER REVIEW The Laramie Project
by Kerry Reid

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

At: Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark St.

Tickets: 773-828-9129;; $15-$25. Runs through: July 8

It's been nearly twenty years since the brutal slaying of Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. At a time when new public displays of hatred and bigotry—aided and abetted by the highest office-holders in the land—seem to go viral on social media every day, it's not surprising that the urge to remount The Laramie Project would hit. Indeed, Moises Kaufman and his Tectonic Theater Project colleagues themselves revisited Laramie in 2008 for a 10-year retrospective called—wait for it—The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later

That newer material seems mostly absent in AstonRep's staging, directed by Derek Bertelsen. Some of the more recent controversies about what actually happened on Oct. 6, 1998, between Shepard and the two men who killed him and are in jail for the rest of their lives—Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson—don't really enter into this narrative. A 2004 20/20 special report and a much-criticized 2013 book by Stephen Jimenez, The Book of Matt, both attempted to suggest that Shepard was involved in meth and that this somehow was the cause of his murder. ( Apparently ,some people still think a victim who is less than completely pure isn't really a victim. )

Bertelsen's staging features a cast of 12 playing more than 60 roles, and they do so with remarkable aplomb. The decision to add musical interludes with John Denver songs feels out of place, though the cast members who sing and play guitar do so with earnest clear-voiced appeal.

What Bertelsen and his cast don't lose sight of is that it's not possible to pin down one definitive narrative on what Matthew Shepard's life and death meant for Laramie and beyond. But amid the cacophony of media reports and ruminations upon whether anything has really changed in a big way for LGBTQ people, it's clear that Shepard's death did cause at least some in Laramie to re-examine their values and beliefs, or claim them with a stronger sense of public purpose.

Jedadiah Schultz ( Matt Harris ), a young theater major at University of Wyoming who loves Angels in America but struggles with his religious convictions about homosexuality, finds a way to challenge both himself and his conservative parents in the aftermath of Shepard's death. Rob DeBree ( Rob Frankel ), the detective who interrogated Henderson, talks about speaking up for LGBTQ rights and losing friends in the process. And Shepard's lesbian friend, Romaine Patterson ( Dana Anderson ) turns her grief and rage into "Angel Action," where people don huge angel wings to block out the hateful venom spewed by the Rev. Fred Phelps and his minions.

This AstonRep production serves as an appropriate anniversary elegy for Shepard, and also offers a glimmer of hope that even in our own dark times, some better angels will step forward.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Richard III 2018-08-15 - By: William Shakespeare. At: Ingraham Park, Evanston. Tickets:; free. Runs through: Sept. 9 Richard III transforms before the audience's eyes ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2018-08-15 - Buddy, American Blues Theater @ Stage 773, remounted through Sept. 15. Far more concert than story, the short, mostly-sweet life of Buddy Holly ...

Gay News

REVIEW Holding the Man 2018-08-15 - Playwright: Tommy Murphy; adapted from a memoir by Timothy Conigrave At: The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway. Tickets: 866-811-4111 or 773-857-0222; ...

Gay News

THEATER Spotlight on Hurricane Damage 2018-08-15 - Four gay men cross generations and decades in Hurricane Damage—Kevin Brofsky's funny, sad, hopeful and emotionally layered exploration of dreams snuffed out by ...

Gay News

REVIEW The African Company Presents Richard III 2018-08-14 - By Carlyle Brown. At: Oak Park Festival Theatre, Austin Gardens, 167 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Tickets: 708-300-3896 or; $20-$32, free children under ...

Gay News

Martha Wash, singer of 'It's Raining Men,' to star in WaistWatchers The Musical 2018-08-13 - The production that has had audience members "burning off pounds just laughing," according to the Los Angeles Times, WaistWatchers The Musical! makes its ...

Gay News

Goodman New Stages Fest includes Sarah Schulman, Ricardo Gamboa and Paula Vogel 2018-08-13 - This fall, Goodman Theatre presents its New Stages Festival—a free annual celebration and discovery of new plays by some of the country's finest ...

Gay News

Casting announced for natioanl tour of Hello, Dolly! 2018-08-11 - CHICAGO ( August 9, 2018 ) Producer Scott Rudin and Broadway In Chicago are delighted to announce the cast for the first national ...

Gay News

THEATER FEATURE 'Pillowtalk' a love story for post-marriage equality world 2018-08-08 - The audience won't hear the Toni Morrison quote that serves as an intro to playwright Kyoung H. Park's Pillowtalk, running Aug. 17-18 at ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Rick Stone the Blues Man 2018-08-08 - Playwright: JackieTaylor At: Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark St. Tickets: $55-$65; 773-769-4451. Runs through: Aug. 26 Since its debut in ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.