Matthew Shepard Laramie Project Musical Drama
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media: For more information, contact:
Birgit Djupedal Fioravante, Executive Director, Opera Fusion Inc.
Birgit@OperaFusion.org or (954) 812-7679
Carol Carnevale, Opera Fusion publicist and board member
CarnevaleC@bellsouth.net or (561) 307-3115
OPERA FUSION TO PRESENT WORLD PREMIERE OF MATTHEW SHEPARD LARAMIE PROJECT AS MUSICAL DRAMA AT FAU, AMATURO
5 PHOTOS ATTACHED; CAPTIONS ARE BELOW NEWS RELEASE COPY
Opera Fusion Inc. will perform the world premiere of its Matthew Shepard musical drama, “Not In My Town,” on Saturday, Sept. 24, and Sunday, Sept. 25, at Florida Atlantic University’s Boca Raton campus, and on Friday, Sept. 30, and Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale.
The show the first weekend is the culmination of FAU’s celebration of International Peace Week 2016, and is sponsored by its Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. FAU show tickets are $20; to order, visit FAUEvents.com. Amaturo tickets start at $35; to order, visit OperaFusion.org.
“Not In My Town,” written by Michael Ross, of Fort Lauderdale, spotlights the events surrounding the murder of Shepard, a gay Wyoming college student. The heroine is Romaine Patterson, his friend who organized peaceful counter-protests with angel-wing costumes that blocked the zealots when the Westboro Baptist Church and Rev. Fred Phelps began picketing Shepard’s funeral and his killers’ trial.
Two men robbed Shepard, 21, on Oct. 7, 1998, pistol-whipped and tortured him, and tied him to a fence in a field
outside Laramie, Wyo. After a cyclist noticed him, Shepard was taken to a Colorado hospital, where he died Oct. 12. The killers were sentenced to life in prison.
The murder brought international attention to hate crime legislation. In 2009, Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and
James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, and President Obama signed it.
The musical drama addresses bullying, said Opera Fusion president Xavier Garcia of West Palm Beach. “Our kids are bullied constantly and they are either killed, or they commit suicide or they are scarred for life. Mathew was killed because he was gay, but Matthew is anyone who has been affected by a hate crime.”
ABOUT THE OPERA COMPANY
Opera Fusion Inc., a 501(c)(3) artist-driven company, is based in West Palm Beach and will mount shows throughout South Florida. It aims to encourage new audiences to experience opera and other classical singing by presenting its performances at intimate and nontraditional venues.
It opened its second season in December 2015 with its “Viva La Zarzuela” master classes and a finalists’ concert at Florida International University in Miami. In its first season, Opera Fusion successfully put on two musical revues, “The Sopranos: An Opera You Can’t Refuse” and “Duelling Divas,” as well as a full production of the opera “Bluebeard’s Castle” and scenes from “Cosi Fan Tutte/Die Fledermaus” in a summer bootcamp workshop. For more about Opera Fusion, visit OperaFusion.org.
FAST FACTS: ‘NOT IN MY TOWN’ WORLD PREMIERE
First Weekend: Sept. 24 and 25
When: 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016
Where: University Theatre, Florida Atlantic University Boca Raton Campus, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton
Tickets: $20, OperaFusion.org
Second Weekend: Sept. 30 and Oct. 1
When: 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30, and 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, 2016
Where: The Amaturo Theater at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 S.W. Fifth Ave., Fort Lauderdale
Tickets: From $35, via OperaFusion.org
PHOTOS, CREDITS, CAPTIONS
All PHOTO CREDIT: F.S. Hindle
CAPTION: In this scene from “Not In My Town,” Matthew Shepard (played by tenor Ryan Townsend) and Romaine Patterson (played by soprano Robyn Marie Lamp) meet at the University of Wyoming and become fast friends after Shepard sees Patterson defend others from a bully.
CAPTION: In this scene from “Not In My Town,” Romaine Patterson’s peaceful protesters in angel-wing costumes confront Westboro Baptist Church Rev. Fred Phelps (played by Enrique Estrada) and his group of hate-mongers at Matthew Shepard’s funeral.
SLUG: ParentsTalking2 Laramie Project
CAPTION: In this scene from “Not In My Town,” Matthew Shepard’s parents discuss their son’s revelation that he is gay and that they will love and support him. The roles of the parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, are played by soprano Sarah-Helen Land and bass-baritone Ardean Landhuis.
SLUG: Romaine Speaking in Washington
CAPTION: Romaine Patterson addresses the Anti-Defamation League in Washington D.C. as the the spirit of Matthew gives her strength.
SLUG: Aftermath Laramie Project
CAPTION: Romaine and her girlfriend, Olivia (played by Ravenna Maer) talk of their growing love and commitment for each other. “Life is oh so precious, yet fragile.”