Tragedy dissected at Masquers Playhouse

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    The musical Johnny Guitar is coming to Masquers Playhouse in Point Richmond starting March 28.

    A play that only members of the vehemently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church could object to is coming to Masquers Playhouse in Port Richmond late next month.

    The Laramie Project, which is slated for five Saturday performances beginning Jan. 25, is the story about a community’s reaction to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard.

    Shepard was a University of Wyoming student who was tortured, tied to a fence and left to die by two men, reportedly for being gay. The brutal crime garnered national attention and led to federal hate crime legislation.

    The Westboro Baptist Church also garnered national attention after it staged a protest at Shepard’s funeral. In past years, the church’s members have also protested stagings of The Laramie Project.

    The play, which debuted in 2000 and has since been performed at theaters worldwide, is set in the aftermath of Shepard’s murder and includes a series of poignant reflections from the residents of Laramie, Wy., the city where the incident occurred.

    The folks at Masquers Playhouse say the play “takes the words of real people and presents them in a breathtaking theatrical collage that explores the depths to which humanity can sink and the heights of compassion of which we are capable.”

    The show runs two hours long, from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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