Hamptonites Neil Patrick Harris and Anderson Cooper will take part in an upcoming LGBTQ benefit known as Laramie: A Legacy, which features a one-night-only reading of The Laramie Project, directed by Moisés Kaufman and Jimmy Maize. The event takes place at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College in New York City on Monday, September 24 at 7 p.m.
Cooper will act as the reception host for the evening, while the rest of the celebrity participants take on the play’s various roles. Featured talent joining Harris in the reading include, Mary-Louise Parker (Angels in America, Weeds), Samira Wiley (Orange Is the New Black, The Handmaid’s Tale), Billy Porter (Kinky Boots, Pose), Asia Kate Dillon (Billions, Orange Is the New Black), Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, YouTuber Randy Rainbow, the original company of The Laramie Project and others. At the time of writing, tickets begin at $200.
Proceeds from Laramie: A Legacy will benefit both the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Tectonic Theater Project, allowing them to further erase hate across America. The Foundation does this through tireless activism, including hate crime training for hundreds of police each year. The Project’s efforts are directed toward training aspiring playwrights to use their writing to tell stories that address human rights issues and the plight of minorities, such as their powerful play Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde.
The Laramie Project’s name derives from Laramie, Wyoming, where 21-year-old Matthew Shepard was found dead as the result of a vicious, anti-gay hate crime in 1998. After news of his murder spread, the Matthew Shepard Foundation was founded and quickly joined forces with the New York-based Tectonic Theater Project. The groups traveled to Laramie to conduct interviews with the townspeople who knew of Shepard and used the transcripts to form the basis of the play. It is now one of the most commonly performed contemporary plays in the world.