Ken Winters and Kristin Ulsund are in the foreground in this photograph of “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.” Visible in the background are, from left, Frank Barevich, Bob Bronsink, Barbara Frederick and Naomi Denhart. (Amy McIntyre)

Ken Winters and Kristin Ulsund are in the foreground in this photograph of “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.” Visible in the background are, from left, Frank Barevich, Bob Bronsink, Barbara Frederick and Naomi Denhart. (Amy McIntyre)

‘The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later’ opens

Play focuses on how Matthew Shepard’s murder continues to affect a community

PORT ANGELES — A look back at Laramie, Wyo., a decade after a gay student, Matthew Shepard, was murdered will be presented at the Port Angeles Community Playhouse this weekend.

“The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later” will be performed at the playhouse at 1235 E Lauridsen Blvd. at 7:30 tonight and Saturday night, plus at 2 p.m. Sunday.

A community talkback will follow each performance.

Admission is $10 per person. Tickets are available at the playhouse’s website at, Brocante Antiques at 105 W. First St. or at the door.

The play is directed by Janet Lucas, president of the Port Angeles Community Players board. She also directed the production of “The Laramie Project” at the Playhouse last year.

“Seeing the effect the recent production of ‘The Laramie Project’ had on us and our local community, it made a lot of sense to follow up with the sequel play to study the impact on a town that is very similar to Port Angeles,” said Richard Stephens, cast member and Port Angeles Community Players board member.

“People across the country, around the world, see the play and say, ‘That is my hometown, that is us, this is our community,’ ” he said.


On Oct. 6, 1998, Shepard, a University of Wyoming student, left the Fireside Bar with Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson.

The following day, Shepard was discovered at the edge of town, tied to a fence, brutally beaten and close to death.

By the following day, the attack and the town of Laramie had become the focus of an international news story. On Oct. 12, 1998, Shepard died at Poudre Valley Hospital in Ft. Collins, Colo.

Over the next 18 months, members of Tectonic Theater Project conducted interviews with people living in Laramie. The play, “The Laramie Project,” emerged from those interviews.

“Since its debut, ‘The Laramie Project’ has been instrumental in sparking community conversations and helping people confront their own prejudices and feelings towards gay people,” Stephens said.

The play, one of the most widely produced in the 2000s, has been translated and performed around the world and adapted into a film. The Port Angeles Community Players performed it locally twice, most recently last spring.

As the 10th anniversary of Shepard’s death neared, many of the original members of the Tectonic Theater Project returned to Laramie to see how the town had changed in the aftermath of the death and the international attention that focused on the small college town.

From those follow-up interviews came the sequel play that was performed on the 11th anniversary of Mathew’s death, “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later.”

The Laramie Project brought up such questions as, “How do we define a hate crime? How do you react when a heinous crime like this occurs in your community? What is the path forward?” Stephens said.

“As we, as a theater company talk about what kind of theater we want to be, what kind of impact we want to have on Port Angeles, we felt that it was important to share this story and we are excited to bring this new chapter to the North Olympic Peninsula.”

Lucas said that the play is “a poignant commentary on today’s polarized political climate.”

She said that audiences packed the Playhouse in June 2018 and included several Port Angeles City Council members and the mayor.

“ ‘The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later’ is an excellent complement to the newly adopted Charter for Compassion that the Port Angeles City Council recently adopted,” Lucas said.

“The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later” was written by Moisés Kaufman, Leigh Fondakowski, Greg Pierotti, Andy Paris and Stephen Belber.

The play focuses on how Shepard’s murder continues to affect members of the Laramie community, the continuing debate on whether it was indeed a hate crime or just a drug deal and robbery gone bad.

The play includes new interviews with Shepard’s mother, Judy; his murderer McKinney, who is currently serving two consecutive life sentences; his friends; and the officers who originally investigated the attack.

The cast for “The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later” includes Lucas, Stephens, Doni Thomason, Cari Stricker, Francesca Robinson, Frank Barevich, Amy McIntyre, Kristin Ulsund, Barbara Frederick, Pat Flood, MaryKaye O’Brien, Naomi Denhart, Sue Coffman, Liane Stephens, John Henley, Brian Wendt, Ken Winters, Mike Edwards, Phil Morgan-Ellis, Phil Young and Bob Bronsink.

More in Entertainment

Poets discuss dance and poetry

Mary Moore Easter and Lillo Way on Thursday will… Continue reading

Diane Urbani de la Paz has published “All My Love: A Story of War and Hope,” a work of narrative nonfiction. (Phil Lusk)
Love, war and hope feed author’s first book

Former reporter, columnist tells tale of letters written home

Alternative Cinema presents free screenings

Alternative Cinema will present two screenings of “Whose Children… Continue reading

Lisa Jensen
Port Townsend Rhododendron Festival Royality are, from left, Princess Brigitte Palmer, Queen Jenessah Seebergoss and Princess Hailey Hirschel. Seebergoss will not be able to attend this year.
Stop and smell the rhodies again

Rhododendron Festival begins Wednesday

Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group 

Denny Henson of NW Rustic Cuts works on carved bears at the Logging Show at the Sequim Irrigation Festival on Friday. The show continues today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. as well as a variety of other events during the festival’s grand finale weekend. The highlight will be the Grand Parade through downtown Sequim from noon to 1:30 p.m. today. For more information, see and
Art with bear hands at Irrigation Festival

Denny Henson of NW Rustic Cuts works on carved bears at the… Continue reading

Prelude canceled; Juan de Fuca Fest to go on

The Prelude to a Festival has been canceled, but… Continue reading

Sam Chase and his band, the Untraditional, will be among the performers at a new event, a prelude to the upcoming Juan de Fuca Festival.
‘Prelude to a Festival’ Sunday at Elks ballroom

Concert will include blend of music and space for dancing

Chicago Bob Longmire, pictured playing solo at the Rothschild House last summer, will bring the Midnight Train Blues Band to Port Townsend’s Discovery Bay Brewing Co. for the monthly blues jam starting Sunday. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
First blues jam of season set for Sunday

Midnight Train Blues Band to lead session

Most Read