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HBHA Theater to perform ‘The Laramie Project’

HBHA will present ‘The Laramie Project’ on April 26 and 27. Those involved in the production include: Jacob Bell (front row, from left), Jesse Ernstein, Mia Velasquez, Leah Sosland, Amanda Sokol and Haidee Clauer. Back row: Micah Margolies (director), Gavi Glickman, Josh Kolkin, Joe Porter, Molly Kavanaugh, Ayelet Schuster and Sara Saidel. Not pictured are Alina Bell, Ariel Brudoley and Eliana Saidel.

On Wednesday, April 26, and Thursday, April 27, upper school students at Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA) will perform the play “The Laramie Project.” This play has been banned in many high schools all over the world because it contains themes of homophobia, death and bigotry.

“The Laramie Project” depicts the story of how the town of Laramie, Wyoming, dealt with the aftermath of the murder of Matthew Shepard, a gay student at the University of Wyoming, in October of 1998. Having heard of Shepard’s death, members of the Tectonic Theater Project in New York went to Laramie to interview those who knew Shepard to find out more about his life and murder. The play is comprised of those interviews and the trial of the two men who were accused of the crime. 

Unlike the lighthearted plays that HBHA’s drama department has performed in the past, “The Laramie Project” touches upon more difficult subject matters. Micah Margolies, the play’s director, chose such a serious play because he wanted a change from the comedies HBHA has performed the past number of years. An English and math teacher in HBHA’s upper school, as well as an HBHA alumni, this is Margolies’ third time directing an HBHA play. As a student, he was in the school’s plays all four years of his upper school career.

“ ‘The Laramie Project’ would be a great play for any school to perform, but I think it is especially meaningful for us. We take great pride in being a school that is open and tolerant to all different kinds of people,” Margolies explained. 

Actress Sara Saidel said “The Laramie Project” is a really intense and thought-provoking show.

“I think it’s really important that HBHA is putting it on. It’s banned in a lot of schools, so I think it’s important that our school is letting us tell the really tragic story of Matthew Shepard,” she said.

Director Margolies hopes this play forces its viewers to look inward and ask “if we have crafted a society where what happened to Matthew could still happen. The answer, hopefully, is no.”

“But I think that there is always more that we can do to make our society a more inclusive place, and this play can be one step forward to accomplishing that,” he said.

The message that Margolies hopes this play will send is, “when terrible things happen in our society, it is critical to ask how something so horrible could have occurred ... this play focuses on the entire community —it doesn’t allow anybody to escape from the ripple effect that the murder had on the city.” 

“The Laramie Project” will be performed at 7 p.m. in the Lewis & Shirley White Theatre at the Jewish Community Campus. Immediately following the first performance, the cast will be participating in a talk-back session with the audience to discuss their experience performing in the show and engage the audience in a meaningful dialogue about the show’s themes. To reserve tickets in advance, e-mail Micah Margolies at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name, the date you would like to attend, and the number of tickets you need. Student tickets are $5 if reserved in advance, and $6 if purchased at the door. Adult tickets are $8 if reserved in advance and $10 if purchased at the door.