The Laramie Project presents a deeply complex portrait of a community’s response to the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man living in Laramie, Wyoming. In a series of poignant reflections, the residents of Laramie react to the hate crime and surrounding media storm with anger, bewilderment and sorrow. The play portrays the seismic and deeply personal impact Matthew’s death had on this small town while also demonstrating the power of the human spirit to triumph over bigotry and violence.

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Nolan Shaffer (Actor 1) is a first-year Computer Science/Math major and TAPS minor. While this is his first UT show, he has previously worked on August: Osage County (Charlie), The Late Wedding (General/Jorda), All Shook Up (Dean Hyde), and more. He wants to thank the entire cast and production team for working so hard and for coming together to share this story.

Taiz Rodriguez (Actor 2) is a third-year TAPS and Media Arts and Design major with a minor in Architectural Studies. This is her first University Theater production, and she is excited to be working with an amazing cast and director.

Emma Linderman (Actor 3) is a third-year TAPS and CMST major. Previous UT/TAPS shows include Amazons and Their Men (The Extra), Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood (Alanna Dale), Scientific Method (Makayla), and Yivdak (Zahara). She is also a member of Occam’s Razor.

Josh Winston (Actor 4) is a second-year Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations major. This is his third UT show, having previously been in The Trail to Oregon! (Understudy - Men) and Marian, or the True Story of Robin Hood (Friar Tuck).

Jack Getz (Actor 5)

Jo Selmeczy (Actor 6) is a first-year prospective Creative Writing and Theatre and Performance Studies (TAPS) double major. They performed in Romeo and Juliet (Romeo) and were a scriptwriter for the past two quarters of Theater[24] (Dirty Cop and Intergalactic Ass). They also wrote a play (A Discussion Over Dinner) for the past staged readings performance. They are a member of the Organization for LGBTQ+ Students (OLS) Service Board and enjoy rock-climbing, playing guitar, and eating candles.

Maggie Reyes (Actor 7) is a fourth-year Anthropology and Romance Languages and Literatures major. This is her second show with UT after playing Sarah in Company her first year.

Layla Lukaj (Actor 8)

Production Staff

Billy DeVito (Director) is an MA student in the humanities concentrating in TAPS. He is thrilled to have gotten the opportunity to work with University Theater during his year at UChicago, and has previous directing credits at his undergraduate institution, Lafayette College, with works such as Tennessee Williams’ The Parade and the musical The Wedding Singer. He hopes this monumental play has a strong impact with audiences as it has with him, and he sincerely thanks everyone involved in putting this show on its feet.

Ryan Cairns (Dramaturg)

Lena Maghraoui (Production Manager)

The SM Collective™ (Stage Management) is composed of 4th-years Ariana Baginski and Spencer Ng; 3rd-year Danielle Yablonovskiy; and 2nd-years Belle Nahoom, Coco Liu, Eleni Lefakis, Kelly Mao, Nathalie Lam, and Maya Carlos Doyle, represents 12 majors (Art History, Chemistry, Computer Science, Data Science, Economics, English, Linguistics, Math, Molecular Engineering, Psychology, and Theater and Performance Studies), 6 minors (Art History, Computer Science, Digital Studies of the Humanities, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Theater and Performance Studies, Education) and collectively holds 88 TAPS/UT credits, including The Winter’s Tale (Asst. SM, Asst. Scenic); Waiting for Godot (Asst. SM); The Old Man and The Old Moon (Asst. Scenic); Welcome Back to My Channel (Asst. SM, Committee Liaison); Love’s Labour’s Lost (SM, Asst. SMs, Asst. Scenic); The Heirs (SM, PM, Asst. SM, Asst. PM); The Light (SM, Asst. SM); The Trail to Oregon! (Dramaturg, SMs, Asst. Director, Asst. Lights); King Lear (SMs, PM, Asst. SM, Committee Liaison); Scientific Method (Lights, Costumes, Asst. PM, Committee Liaison); Romeo & Juliet (SM, PMs, Asst. Sound, Actor (Lady Capulet), Committee Liaison); Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood (Dramaturg, SM, Asst. Director, Asst. SM, Committee Liaison); Macbeth in Space (Dramaturg, PM, Sound, Projections, Hair & Makeup, Asst. PM, Asst. Scenic, Actor (Malcolm)); and this coming spring, Be More Chill (Co-Director, SMs, Costumes, Pit (Violin)) and Twelfth Night (SM, PM, Asst. PM, Asst. Scenics, Asst. Props, Committee Liaison). The collective also comprises 6 current members of Committee and 4 current members of TAPS staff. They want to thank Billy and the actors for being flexible and Lena for handling their logistics. They are excited for March 11th to arrive so they can take a break. If you would like to keep up with some of the members’ upcoming shenanigans, join!

Felix Benardo (Scenic Designer)

Becky Vazquez (Props Designer) is a fourth-year Biology major in the College. They have previously worked on shows such as Love’s Labour’s Lost and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. They are very excited for you to watch The Laramie Project.

Raquel Buriani (Costume Designer) is a second-year Cognitive Science and Cinema and Media Studies major. Her previous UT credits include King Lear (Assistant Costume Designer), Autumn 2022 Theater[24] (Director and Designer), Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood (Costume Designer), and Winter 2022 Theater[24] (Director).

June Villers (Lighting Designer)

Samantha Doepker (Sound Designer) is a first-year Computer Science major. Sam has previously worked on The Intruder and Perfect Match as sound designer for the Fall 2022 Weekend of Workshops, and is excited to sound design for her first mainstage show!

Elaine Liang (Assistant Costume Designer) is a third-year Philosophy major and Chemistry minor who has never done any theater and is part of a UT play for the first time ever to try it out! She wants to thank Raquel, Lena, Billy, and the entire team for making her first experience a great one, and looks forward to getting to know theater better.

Carolyn Heinzer (Assistant Lighting Designer) is a second-year Computer Science and English major. They have previously worked on Queen of Spades (Lighting Designer), The Intruder (Co-Stage Manager), Perfect Match (Assistant Lighting Designer), and The Trail to Oregon! (Assistant Lighting Designer). He has also written four short plays for Theater[24].

Gaby Labotka (Vulnerability Coach)

Lauren Thompson (Dialect Coach)

Spencer Ng (UT Committee Liaison) is a fourth-year studying Theater & Performance Studies and Computer Science. He serves as the UT Committee Chair, and his credits include The Intruder (Projections Designer), King Lear (Production Manager), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Stage Manager), and My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theatre (Stage Manager). He would like to thank Billy, Lena, the SM Collective, and the rest of the team for putting in many hours to make this show happen. You can catch what he’s working on next at

Sana Fessuh (Tech Staff Liaison)