Private Donor Donates $25,000 in Emergency Funding to Reopen Site

Update as of noon Oct. 16: We are very close to reopening the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site. Late yesterday, senior FTS and NPS officials began working with D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray to iron out final details, as the reopening requires both the National Park Service and Mayor Gray's support. The situation is complicated by D.C.’s status, since it is the only jurisdiction in the country not allowed to spend its own funds without federal approval. Mayor Gray has been working on this since late last night. While we will not be able to reopen the site this afternoon for daytime visits, we are proceeding with tonight’s performance of The Laramie Project at 7:30 p.m.


Paul R. Tetreault, director of Ford's Theatre Society, announced that the Ford's Theatre National Historic Site (FOTH) will reopen Wednesday, October 16, thanks to $25,000 in emergency funding provided by a key trustee. The site will reopen for daytime visits at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, and performances of The Laramie Project will resume at 7:30 p.m. that evening. The Laramie Project runs through Oct. 27; all remaining tickets for performances are $25.

The agreement to reopen the site, which has been closed since Oct. 1, developed over the Columbus Day weekend in conversations between Tetreault and the National Park Service (NPS). After several states agreed to provide funding to reopen parks in their jurisdictions, Tetreault and NPS began exploring how a similar agreement might work for FOTH. In the spirit of continued cooperation between the Society and the National Park Service, the Society agreed to find funding to pay for park operations normally funded by NPS in four-day increments. The $25,000 gift will enable the Society to reopen the site for the next eight days.

"For 45 years, Ford's Theatre Society has been honored to operate Ford's Theatre in a public-private partnership with the National Park Service," Tetreault said. "For the last 15 days, both NPS and the Society have been exploring ways to reopen this important historic site to the public. Thanks to the generosity of Ronald O. Perelman, we have found a way to pay NPS's expenses for the next eight days. We look forward to welcoming our patrons back to The Laramie Project as well as our daytime programming. While we are pleased that we have found a short-term solution, we sincerely hope that the shutdown ends soon, as private dollars cannot replace the government's role at Ford's Theatre National Historic Site in the long term."

Ronald O. Perelman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings Inc., is the Founding Sponsor of the Ford’s Theatre Society’s Lincoln Legacy Project; he also serves on the Society’s Board of Trustees. The Lincoln Legacy Project is a multi-year programming effort to generate dialogue around the issues of tolerance, equality and acceptance. The Laramie Project is at the core of this year’s Lincoln Legacy programming.

During the recent shutdown, performances of The Laramie Project were relocated to First Congregational United Church of Christ, just up the street.

"Though the shutdown has been painful, we have been amazed by the generosity of Rev. Sidney Fowler and the members of First Congregational, who have opened their beautiful space to us for more than a week of performances," Tetreault said. "We were honored to be in their space, and we look forward to future collaborations with our neighbors."

Ford’s Theatre Society (FTS) is a private non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and does not use any federal funding nor federal employees for its programming.

The Laramie Project
By Moisés Kaufman and Members of the Tectonic Theater Project
Directed by Matthew Gardiner
Part of The Lincoln Legacy Project
Through October 27, 2013 * All Remaining Tickets Are $25

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.”

Special Exhibition- Not Alone: The Power of Response
Second Floor Gallery: Center for Education and Leadership (514 Tenth Street NW)
Through November 3, 2013

Following Matthew Shepard’s attack in 1998, complete strangers from all over the world, moved by the horrific circumstances of Matthew’s death, reached out to his parents, Judy and Dennis Shepard, to share their condolences, outrage, grief, love and support. Not Alone: The Power of Response pairs artist Jeff Sheng’s Where Matthew Lay Dying, a hauntingly beautiful composite photograph of the fence outside Laramie—taken from Matthew’s perspective—with a selection of the letters sent to the Shepard family in order to explore the themes of empathy, community response and personal responsibility.

Walking Tour:
Investigation: Detective McDevitt
written by Richard Hellesen
directed by Mark Ramont
runs March through October

On the night of April 14, 1865, Detective James McDevitt was on duty at the Washington Metropolitan Police headquarters, a half-block from Ford’s Theatre. Just before 10:30, frantic witnesses rushed in with horrifying news: President Lincoln had been shot at the theatre. Join Detective McDevitt as he revisits the sites and reexamines the clues from the investigation into the Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy. Investigation: Detective McDevitt lasts approximately two hours and makes at least eight stops throughout the story. The distance walked is approximately 1.6 miles from Ford’s Theatre to the White House. Wear comfortable shoes. Tickets are currently available for dates through October 26, 2013. Spring 2014 dates will be announced in January 2014.

Daytime Visits to the Ford’s Theatre Campus
Patrons can visit the Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site (Museum, Theatre and Petersen House) and Center for Education and Leadership starting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, October 16. Tickets for October 16 through October 20 will be available for free on a walk-up basis.

National Park Service and Ford’s Theatre Society Partnership
Since Ford's Theatre's reopening in 1968, more than 100 years after the April 14, 1865, assassination of President Abraham Lincoln, it has been one of the most visited sites in the nation’s capital. Operated through a partnership with the National Park Service and Ford’s Theatre Society, Ford’s Theatre has enthralled visitors because of its unique place in United States history, and its mission to celebrate the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and explore the American experience through theatre and education. The NPS and FTS work together to present the Theatre’s nearly one million annual visitors with a high quality historical and cultural experience.

Ford’s Theatre Society
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 a 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 A. 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