Tweet suggests Westboro church will protest Granite Bay High’s ‘Laramie Project’

01/29/2014 3:55 PM

01/29/2014 3:46 PM

Twitter posts from the controversial church threatening to picket Granite Bay High School’s theater production of “The Laramie Project” suggest it will attempt some level of protest against the play.

The student-directed production opens a two-weekend run at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Granite Bay High School. The play depicts the aftermath of the 1998 murder of gay University of Wyoming student Matthew Shepard. The play, by Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project, was competitively pitched by seniors Robert De Leon, Perry Vargas and Alexa Zogopoulos, said Kyle Holmes, the Placer County school’s drama teacher.

While the officials with the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church have not returned calls or emails for comment to The Bee, the group’s official Twitter account responded Wednesday to a Bee story about the play.

“Westboro to warn against deadly @LaramieProject propaganda put on at Granite Bay High,” the tweet read.

Dana Erwin, a spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, said Tuesday that the school’s resource officer would be on hand for the play and that deputies would be dispatched to the school if needed. Meanwhile, members of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center are expected show their support for the students.

“I think it’s really great that the students up there selected this as the production they want to produce,” said David Heitstuman, president of the LGBT center board. “Times are changing.”

The Love is Love counterpresence is expected to gather at 5:30 p.m. at the school. Holmes and others said they’ve received an outpouring of support from local churches.

Heitstuman said he was looking forward to seeing the play, but with Thursday’s opening already sold out, he’ll have to wait until at least Friday.

Seats may be at a premium. The theater, which normally seats more than 450 people, has been converted into a black-box-style theater seating 150 people, said Holmes. The show is recommended for mature audiences only.

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