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The Bergenstages company.

The Bergenstages company.

PARAMUS, N.J. – The Bergenstages theatre troupe at Bergen Community College will open its 50th anniversary season with “The Laramie Project,” a play centered on the reaction to the 1998 murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. Written by Moisés Kaufman and the members of Tectonic Theatre Project, and directed by Bergen professor Leigh Jonaitis, Ph.D., the production will open on Friday, October 27 in the Ender Hall Lab Theatre at the College’s main campus in Paramus (400 Paramus Road). Performances will continue on Saturday, October 28, Thursday, November 2, Friday, November 3 and Saturday, November 4 at 7:30 p.m. Matinee performances will take place on Saturday, October 28 and Saturday, November 4 at 2 p.m.

Denounced as a hate crime, the Shepard murder brought attention to the lack of hate crime laws in various states, including Wyoming. An example of verbatim theatre, the play draws on hundreds of interviews conducted by the theatre company with inhabitants of the town, company members’ own journal entries and published news reports.

Tickets are $15 general admission, $10 for seniors (65+) and $5 for students – visit tickets.bergen.edu to purchase. For more information, call (201) 447-7428.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 13,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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