As late as Tuesday morning, October 1st, the staff of Ford’s Theatre was confident that their production of The Laramie Project would proceed during any shutdown of the federal government. After all, the Fords Theatre Society is privately funded and previous announced shutdowns allowed the theatre to remain open. By 4pm on Tuesday, the company had announced that its press opening of the The Laramie Project, the exploration by Tectonic Theatre Project of a community’s reaction to the Matthew Shepherd murder, would not be produced at Ford’s Theatre during the shutdown.
Woolly Mammoth Theatre made its rehearsal space available for the press opening Tuesday night. By 6:30, tech crews arrived to begin setup, photos of the set were displayed in the lobby and Artistic Director Paul Tetrault was on hand to answer questions. Soon after, the performance began, the cast adeptly handling the restaging required to move from the vast Ford’s Theatre to the intimate Woolly Mammoth rehearsal room.
The exact future of any public performances of The Laramie Project at Ford’s Theatre – whether the company will move to the production to another venue or wait out the shutdown – is unknown at this point. A notice on the Ford’s Theatre Web site announces that they will contact patrons who have purchased tickets to both The Laramie Project and the upcoming Lincoln Legacy Project.
Visitors can still take the walking tour Investigation: Detective McDevitt, and, as previously announced the Center for Education and Leadership, which is owned and operated by the Society, will stay open for daytime visits from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.Ford’s Theatre, the Ford’s Theatre Museum and Petersen House will be closed for the duration of the shutdown.