Just days after rehearsals began, a Catholic school in New Jersey has canceled its production of The Laramie Project. It's a play based on the 1998 murder in Wyoming of gay college student Matthew Shepard.
Officials at Notre Dame High School in Lawrence say the play was originally seen as an appropriate vehicle to address issues of respect and tolerance. But they say as calls came in they realized different people "will see radically different messages than the ones we intended" and they didn't want a "damaging controversy."
The Laramie Project has been a cornerstone of campaigns to raise awareness about violence against gays and to pass hate-crime laws.
Cast members say the play had already been edited slightly. They tell The Times of Trenton they have been denied the chance to put on a thought-provoking play.