Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site (Museum, Theatre, Petersen House) and the Center for Education and Leadership will be closed to the public on Monday, May 19, 2014.

FORD’S THEATRE SOCIETY ANNOUNCES 2013-2014 SEASON

Season Opens with The Lincoln Legacy Project Production of
The Laramie Project

Production marks the 15th Anniversary of
Matthew Shepard’s death

2013-2014 Season also Includes
A Christmas Carol, Violet and
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Washington, D.C. – Ford’s Theatre Director Paul R. Tetreault announced the Theatre’s 2013-2014 season will open with a new production of The Laramie Project, 15 years after the killing of Wyoming college student Matthew Shepard. The play is presented as the cornerstone production for the Ford’s Theatre Society’s Lincoln Legacy Project, a multi-year effort dedicated to sparking dialogue in the nation’s capital around issues of social injustice and the ideals of equality for which Abraham Lincoln stood. A series of free special programs and events will be offered in connection with the play in September/October 2013.

Events for The Lincoln Legacy Project will be presented in cooperation with several partner organizations including the Matthew Shepard Foundation, The Trevor Project, Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL), Facing History and Ourselves, Not in Our Town, Split This Rock, Teaching for Change, the Anti-Defamation League, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the DC Center, the Human Rights Campaign and Tectonic Theater Project.

“Inspired by Lincoln’s work for justice, peace and equality, The Lincoln Legacy Project investigates moments in our nation’s history where we have failed to live up to our ideals, and provides a platform for dialogue to address steps toward improvement and reconciliation,” said Paul Tetreault, Ford’s Theatre Society Director. “We hope that, in even a small way, this year’s production of The Laramie Project might broaden our perspectives and open our eyes to how hate—in all its forms—weakens our society. We are honored to be joined by so many partner organizations who work in this sphere everyday to eradicate bigotry and intolerance.”

“Every great civil rights advance in our country's history seems to stem from a place whose name echoes in Americans' mind long after the crime, or vigil, or march or protest that occurred there,” said Jason Marsden, Executive Director of the Matthew Shepard Foundation. “Because of the visibility of Matthew Shepard's murder, and the groundswell of LGBT civil rights activism that followed, Laramie, Wyoming is one of those places. The Laramie Project captures the momentousness of the days following Matt's death, and the introspection and ongoing debate that lingers so many years later. The Matthew Shepard Foundation is proud and honored to work with Ford's Theatre on this year's Lincoln Legacy Project.”

The Laramie Project helped a town, and then the nation, confront the horror and pain of a viscous hate crime killing by giving voice to an entire community,’ said Patrice O’Neill, Executive Director of Not In Our Town. “Not in Our Town is proud to be a part of the endeavor to promote deep conversations about how all of us are affected by acts of bigotry, and how each of us can find a way to stand up to hate in our communities, our country and our world.”

In addition to The Laramie Project, Ford’s will present four free Monday night panel discussions including a conversation with Judy Shepard, and two staged readings of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later, an epilogue exploring what life in Laramie tells us about life in America 10 years later. A complete programming schedule for this year’s Lincoln Legacy Project, including events of our Legacy Project partners, will be announced in September 2013.

The Lincoln Legacy Project is made possible with support from: Ronald O. Perelman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., Founding Sponsor; The Pew Charitable Trusts; the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation, Harold Holzer, Chairman, and The Honorable and Mrs. Gregory B. Craig.

Additionally, the Ford’s Theatre Society’s 2013-2014 season includes the return of Edward Gero as Scrooge in the celebrated holiday production of A Christmas Carol; Violet, a stirring American musical about healing and hope; and the hilarious musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Ford’s also continues its programming using theatre to bring history to life. The History on Foot walking tour Investigation: Detective McDevitt will run from September to October 2013 and March through August 2014. The popular daytime one-act production One Destiny by Richard Hellesen will return in the spring of 2014.

Tickets for The Laramie Project will be available for sale to Ford’s Theatre members and groups on May 20, 2013; the public can purchase tickets beginning May 28. Tickets for A Christmas Carol, Violet and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will be available for sale to members and groups on August 5; the public can purchase tickets beginning August 19.

FORD’S THEATRE 2013-2014 SEASON

The Laramie Project
By Moisés Kaufman and Members of the Tectonic Theatre Project
Directed by Matthew Gardiner
September 27-October 27, 2013
Part of The Lincoln Legacy Project

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. Fifteen years later, Matthew Shepard’s story still reverberates, urging us on with its clarion call to confront the destructive power of bullying and hate, in all forms. The Laramie Project is the third offering in the multi-year Lincoln Legacy Project—an effort to generate dialogue around issues of tolerance, equality and acceptance. Experience the story that TIME Magazine calls “a pioneering and powerful stage event.”

A Christmas Carol
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Michael Wilson
Directed by Michael Baron
November 21, 2013-January 1, 2014

Ford’s Theatre has delighted Washington audiences with A Christmas Carol for more than 30 seasons. Join the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future as they lead the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on a journey of transformation and redemption. Originally conceived by Michael Baron, this music-infused production captures the magic and joy of Dickens’s Yuletide classic. Acclaimed Washington stage actor Edward Gero returns to play Scrooge in the production The Washington Post hailed as “musically high-spirited” and “infectiously jolly.”

Violet
Music by Jeanine Tesori; Book and Lyrics by Brian Crawley
Based on The Ugliest Pilgrim by Doris Betts
Directed and Choreographed by Jeff Calhoun
Music Direction by Jay Crowder
January 24-February 23, 2014

A touching story of love, hope and healing. In the early 1960s, a young woman travels across the South in search of a miracle. On her journey, she meets two young soldiers who help her learn about courage, beauty and her own self-worth. Jeanine Tesori (Caroline, or Change) returns with a dynamic score of bluegrass, gospel, country and rock. Directed by Tony-nominated Jeff Calhoun (Broadway’s Newsies).

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Music and lyrics by William Finn; Book by Rachel Sheinkin
Conceived by Rebecca Feldman; Additional material by Jay Reiss
Directed by Peter Flynn
Choreographed by Michael Bobbitt; Music Direction by Christopher Youstra
March 14-May 17, 2014

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee follows six awkward adolescents through their daunting and hilarious championship quest. As they navigate the tournament’s pressures, the eccentric coterie finds a new sense of belonging. Along the way, they learn that there is more to life than winning a trophy. This charming coming-of-age tale also invites four volunteers from the audience to participate in each performance, ensuring new and unexpected comedy every night. Peter Flynn (1776) returns to direct this heartwarmingly quirky Tony-winning musical comedy. The Wall Street Journal raved “Putnam County is that rarity of rarities, a super smart-show that is also a bona fide crowd-pleaser.”

About Ford’s Theatre
One of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital, Ford’s Theatre reopened its doors in 1968, more than a hundred years after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Operated through a partnership between Ford’s Theatre Society and the National Park Service, Ford’s Theatre is the premier destination in the nation’s capital to explore and celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s ideals and leadership principles: courage, integrity, tolerance, equality and creative expression.

The Ford’s Theatre Society was founded under the guidance of executive producer Frankie Hewitt, who, during her 35-year tenure, established Ford’s as living, working theatre producing performances that highlighted the diversity of the American experience. Since the arrival of Paul R. Tetreault as Director, critics and the theatregoing public have recognized Ford’s for the superior quality of its artistic programming. With works from the nationally acclaimed Big River to the world premieres of Meet John Doe, The Heavens Are Hung In Black, Liberty Smith and Necessary Sacrifices, Ford’s Theatre is making its mark on the American theatre landscape. Under the leadership of Wayne R. Reynolds, Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus (Chairman  2007 to 2012), the mission of Ford’s Theatre Society expanded to include education as a central pillar. This expansion led to the creation and construction of the Center for Education and Leadership, which opened in February 2012. Currently, under the leadership of Board of Trustees Chairman Eric Spiegel, Ford’s enters a second phase of strategic planning to ensure the organization’s place as a national destination for exploring Lincoln’s legacy and the American experience through the intersection of history, performance and education.

For more information on Ford’s Theatre and the Ford’s Theatre Society, please visit www.fords.org.

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2013 Lincoln Legacy Project Partners

“Every great civil rights advance in our country's history seems to stem from a place whose name echoes in Americans' mind long after the crime, or vigil, or march or protest that occurred there. Because of the visibility of Matthew Shepard's murder, and the groundswell of LGBT civil rights activism that followed, Laramie, Wyoming, is one of those places. The Laramie Project captures the momentousness of the days following Matt's death and the introspection and ongoing debate that lingers so many years later, and the Matthew Shepard Foundation is proud and honored to work with Ford's Theatre on this year's Lincoln Legacy Project.” – Jason Marsden, Executive Director, Matthew Shepard Foundation

“The Trevor Project is proud to partner with Ford’s Theatre on The Lincoln Legacy Project. We know that lack of acceptance and tolerance directly impacts the health, safety and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. Recalling President Lincoln’s legacy to promote tolerance, acceptance and understanding can both move our country forward and save lives.” – Abbe Land, Executive Director and CEO, The Trevor Project

“SMYAL is proud to partner with Ford’s Theatre on The Lincoln Legacy Project to shine a light on the devastating impact homophobia and transphobia continue to have on our youth – and how lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and straight youth leaders are at the forefront of promoting acceptance and inclusion throughout our community.” – Andrew Barnett, Executive Director, Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL)

“Facing History and Ourselves is pleased to partner with Ford's Theatre on The Lincoln Legacy Project about the important issues raised in The Laramie Project, from understanding how unchecked prejudice can lead to a hate crime, to the importance of perspective-taking and developing empathy. Bringing the story of Matthew Shepard to Metro DC schools and classrooms will help students make the connection between recent history and the moral choices they face in their own lives.“ – Marc Skvirsky, Chief Program Officer, Facing History and Ourselves

“The Laramie Project helped a town, and then the nation, confront the horror and pain of a viscous hate crime killing by giving voice to an entire community. Thanks to Ford's Theatre for bringing this vital story to the Capital. Not in Our Town is proud to be a part of the endeavor to promote deep conversations about how all of us are affected by acts of bigotry, and how each of us can find a way to stand up to hate in our communities, our country and our world.” – Patrice O’Neill, Executive Director, Not In Our Town

“Split This Rock is dedicated to the poetry of provocation and witness, precisely the art of The Laramie Project. We’re thrilled to partner with Ford’s Theatre on The Lincoln Legacy Project—an opportunity to bear witness to injustice and provoke change.” – Sarah Browning, Executive Director, Split This Rock

“Teaching for Change is pleased to partner with Ford’s Theatre for The Laramie Project and contribute to the conversation on equity and justice for the lesbian and gay communities. The production and community dialogues present a unique opportunity to promote lesbian and gay history and voices with parents, teachers, and students seeking to build social justice, starting in the classroom.”  – Deborah Menkart, Executive Director, Teaching for Change

“This year’s play, about the brutal murder of a young gay man, is a powerful tool to inspire discussion and education around SPLC’s core goals of promoting a more accepting society and winning justice for the victims of bigotry. This discussion is particularly important as the LGBT community suffers from more violent hate crimes than any other group and fights for the equal treatment enjoyed by the rest of society.” – Morris Dees, Founder, Southern Poverty Law Center.

FORD'S THEATRE MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Beyea lbeyea@fords.org