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''The Laramie Project'' is a play by Moises Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project about the aftermath of the 1998 murder of openly gay college student Matthew Shepard in Laramie, Wyoming. The play draws on hundreds of interviews of Laramie residents conducted by the members of the Tectonic Theater Project (led by Moises Kaufman), as well as news reports and company members' journal entries. Together, these pieces fit together to form the story of how Matthew Shepard died, the reaction both of Laramie and the country at large, and the trials of his murderers Russell Henderson and Aaron [=McKinney=].

The piece is widely regarded as one of the most socially important plays in recent memory, and the most influential play centered on homosexuality since ''AngelsInAmerica''. It is used in schools across America and the UK to teach about prejudice and tolerance, and has inspired grassroots efforts to combat discrimination.

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!!This play contains examples of:

* AdultFear: Matthew's attack.
* AllStarCast: TheMovie. Well, more like an All HeyItsThatGuy cast, but it's still an impressive amount of notable names, a lot of whom got more famous [[RetroactiveRecognition later]].
* AudienceMonologue: The play is practically composed of these.
* BasedOnATrueStory: Almost verbatim.
* CastFullOfGay: Many residents of Laramie interviewed--only natural given the nature of the subject matter.
* CruelMercy: Matthew's father, Dennis Shepard, casts this upon Aaron McKinney when he asks for [[spoiler: Aaron to not be put to death for his crimes.]]
--->[[spoiler:'''Dennis''': "Mr. McKinney, I am going to grant you life, as hard as it is for me to do so, because of Matthew. Every time you celebrate Christmas, a birthday, the Fourth of July remember that Matt isn't. Every time you wake up in your prison cell remember that you had the opportunity and the ability to stop your actions that night. You robbed me of something very precious and I will never forgive you for that. Mr. McKinney I give you life in the memory of one who no longer lives. May you have a long life and may you thank Matthew every day for it."]]
* TheGhost: Matthew Shepard, most notably.
* GoodShepherd: Father Roger Schmit
* HeteronormativeCrusader: Reverend Fred Phelps
* IntrepidReporter: The members of the Tectonic Theater Project fit the bill.
* JustIgnoreIt: In the movie, this was the residents' response to Fred Phelps [[spoiler:by standing between him and his hate mongers and the public wearing winged angel costumes, blocking them from sight too]].
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters / LoadsAndLoadsOfRoles: Over seventy, all performed by eight actors. In the movie, each actor does one role.
* NoCelebritiesWereHarmed: Completely averted, especially with the all-too-real [[JerkAss Rev. Fred Phelps]].
* OneSteveLimit: The subject of the show is the death of Matthew Shepard: there are two other Matthews, both of whom worked at the same bar. Both one of the murderers and the man who found Matthew were named Aaron. There are two unrelated Stephens. A pretty good example of how unrealistic the trope is.
* OriginalCastPrecedent: The show is almost always performed with eight people playing the several dozen roles, and frequently actors play some roles of different gender and/or race.
* OurActsAreDifferent: The show is performed in three acts of equal length, with an {{Intermission}} between each.
* WhereAreTheyNowEpilogue: the sequel, ''The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later,'' is this to the original play, though it's also a full-length work on its own.
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