Encore Michigan

Mosaic Youth Theatre addresses intolerance in ‘The Laramie Project’

Review February 19, 2019 David Kiley

DETROIT, Mich.–Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit’s Main Stage Actors tackle the weighty topic of social intolerance in The Laramie Project, a production examining the events leading up to and the aftermath of a young gay man’s 1998 murder in Laramie, Wyoming. The show is produced and performed exclusively by members of Mosaic’s all-youth theatre and runs
at the Mosaic Black Box Theatre from Feb. 22 – 24.

“The theme of the production is one of tolerance and understanding”, shares Andrew Huff, Director of Theatre. “As actors, the ensemble spends most of its time entertaining our audiences- making them laugh and smile with musicals or comedies. But sometimes, we have an opportunity to transcend entertainment and use our work in an important way, introducing heavier,more important conversations.”

Immediately following Matthew Sheppard’s death, Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project conducted over 200 interviews with Laramie locals, from bartenders, to social workers and family members to reconstruct the story that has become an American classic. And as members of the ensemble cast researched characters and learned more about the production, they’ve cultivated a safe space for sensitive discussions on the play’s major themes of social intolerance, introducing their own personal experiences and perspective to the acting process.

“Our goal isn’t to make political statements or stir the pot, but for our
young people to experience theatre that has real, lasting implications in
people’s lives,” Huff continued. “In today’s climate, contributions like
this are more important than ever- to recognize our history of tragedy, the
good things we’ve accomplished and how far we still have to go.”

“Matthew Sheppard was only 21 years old – not much older than our Main
Stage members who are reenacting these events. They’re able to tell this
story in a richly authentic way. It’s piercing. It makes you think,” said
Stefanie Worth, Mosaic’s Executive Director. “So in a society where
incidents like the recent assault on Empire actor Jussie Smollett remind us
that this hate still lives, our young artists fight through performance for
a world where love rules.”

Tickets for Mosaic’s 2018-19 season shows are $20 for adults, $15 for
seniors, and $10 for youth ages 5-18. Due to mature subject matter, this
show is not recommended for children under 13. For show times and to
purchase tickets, visit *www.mosaicdetroit.org/tickets
<http://www.mosaicdetroit.org/tickets>*. Group discounts available. For
questions and additional information, please contact sales@mosaicdetroit.org
or call 313.872.6910.