LARAMIE PROJECT Opens New Season and New Era at Lyric Arts

The nationally esteemed Laramie Project is coming to the Lyric Arts Main Street Stage this fall, opening a new season and a new, artistically challenging era for the Anoka theater. Running September 6-22, Laramie tells the story of murdered gay college student Matthew Shepard through a documentary style script. This deeply moving, award winning play explores the depths to which humanity can sink, and the heights of compassion to which it can soar. Tickets are $$13-$22, with discounts for students and seniors, and can be purchased by phone at 763-422-1838 or online at

Lyric Arts Main Street Stage has been serving Anoka with access to entertaining, community building theater and music for nineteen years. As the organization looks forward, it hopes to deepen that relationship by enhancing the artistic quality of its productions and challenging their audiences to think deeply about the art they are seeing, examining how it relates to their lives. The theater chose The Laramie Project carefully, with this growing artistic vision in mind.

“When we made the decision to produce The Laramie Project this year, the biggest question we had to ask ourselves was, ‘Why? Why now? Why in this community?’ As much as this is the story of what happened to Matthew Shepard, it is also the story what happened to the town of Laramie, Wyoming. After this incident, the entire town and all its residents were portrayed by the media in a very negative light. Through this play, you meet the real residents of Laramie and find that they are people you know…people to whom you can relate. What happened in Laramie could happen in anywhere in the country, including right here in our own back yard,” comments Managing Artistic Director Laura Tahja Johnson.

The Laramie Project gives the theater an opportunity to challenge itself artistically, while starting new, stimulating conversations with its community. Although the play takes place 15 years ago, the headlines were not unlike ones we still see today: twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard was kidnapped, severely beaten, tied to a fence, and left to die. As the story began to unfold nationally in 1998, a group of writers went to Laramie, Wyoming to interview hundreds of real people about the incident and what happened in the aftermath. The result is this incredible “live documentary” exploring the impact of this unspeakable crime and the way it changed the town of Laramie, and the nation, forever. Audiences will be drawn into Laramie with friends and family, much like their own, trying to make sense of a terrible crime. Leading them through the heartbreak and into a future they can feel hopeful about.

Lyric Arts Main Street Stage, located in the heart of historic downtown Anoka, offers a full season of live theater and intimate live music events. Formed in 1995, Lyric Arts Company of Anoka started out in the Pocket Theatre. Lyric Arts outgrew the Pocket Theatre, and opened the Main Street Stage in January of 2001. The Main Street Stage sells approximately 30,000 tickets each year and Lyric Arts presents a full season of programming, as well as theater workshops, school-day matinees, and educational outreach programs.  The mission of Lyric Arts is building community and nurturing artists and audiences of all ages through live theater. We accomplish this by providing opportunities for artists and audiences to experience and celebrate these art forms in their community.

Directed by Robert Neu


Friday, Sept. 6, 7:30 pm

Saturday, Sept. 7, 7:30 pm

Sunday, Sept. 8, 2 pm

Thursday, Sept. 12, 7 pm

Friday, Sept. 13, 7:30 pm

Saturday, Sept. 14, 7:30 pm

Sunday, Sept. 15, 2 pm

Thursday, Sept. 19, 7 pm

Friday, Sept. 20, 7:30 pm

Saturday, Sept. 21, 7:30 pm

Sunday, Sept. 22, 2 pm