Appalachian State University’s 2018 Common Reading Program author, Moisés Kaufman, will appear in the spring 2019 Hughlene Bostian Frank Visiting Writers Series at Appalachian. He will read from and sign copies of his play “The Laramie Project,” as well as give a public address titled “Theater in 2018 - The Vicinity of Hope” in Appalachian’s Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts.
Kaufman is the founder and artistic director of Tectonic Theater Project; a Tony- and Emmy-nominated director and playwright; and a 2015 recipient of the National Medal of Arts.
Kaufman’s play “The Laramie Project,” which he co-wrote with members of the Tectonic Theater Project company, is among the most performed plays in America and is the 2018–19 selection of Appalachian’s Common Reading Program for all incoming, first-year students.
“Artists like Moisés Kaufman help us see the world from new perspectives that can help us respond to our world and the big problems we face with creativity and compassion,” said Dr. Martha McCaughey, professor in Appalachian’s Department of Sociology and director of the university’s Common Reading Program.
“The Common Reading Committee is so pleased that so many groups are engaging with the themes in ‘The Laramie Project,’” she continued. “From the production of the play and screenings of the film to faculty panels and a candlelight vigil, students will have multiple opportunities to join an intellectual conversation taking place both inside and outside their classrooms.”
Kaufman’s Broadway directing credits include the following:
- the revival of “The Heiress,” with actress and film producer Jessica Chastain;
- “33 Variations” starring Jane Fonda — Kaufman also wrote the play, which received five Tony nominations;
- Rajiv Joseph’s Pulitzer Prize finalist “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” with actor Robin Williams; and
- Doug Wright’s Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning play “I Am My Own Wife,” with actor Jefferson Mays.
His additional directing credits include “Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde,” which he also wrote; “The Tallest Tree in the Forest” (Mark Taper, BAM); “The Nightingale” (La Jolla Playhouse); “The Common Pursuit” (Roundabout); “Macbeth with Liev Schreiber” (Public Theater); “This Is How It Goes” (Donmar Warehouse); “One Arm by Tennessee Williams” (New Group and Steppenwolf Theatre Company); the opera “El Gato con Botas” (“Puss in Boots”) at the New Victory Theater; and Master Class with Rita Moreno (Berkeley Repertory Theatre).
Kaufman also co-wrote and directed the HBO film adaptation of “The Laramie Project,” which received two Emmy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Writer. He is an Obie winner and a Guggenheim Fellow in playwriting.
“The Laramie Project” is for sale at Appalachian's University Bookstore, and copies of the play will be available for purchase at Kaufman's reading. The play is also available in the Main Stacks of Appalachian’s Belk Library and Information Commons. Additionally, Belk Library offers the expanded edition of the play, “The Laramie Project and The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later,” in which the theatre troupe revisited Laramie a decade after Matthew Shepard’s death.
Free parking for the afternoon event featuring Kaufman will be available in the College Street Parking Deck next to Belk Library and Information Commons (from King Street, turn down College Street at the First Baptist Church). To reach the Plemmons Student Union, cross College Street and follow the walkway between the chiller plant and the University Bookstore, passing the Post Office and entering the union on the second floor. For further parking information or a map, visit https://parking.appstate.edu.
For additional information about the Visiting Writers Series, contact the series’ coordinator, Susan Weinberg, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Department of English
The Department of English at Appalachian State University is committed to outstanding work in the classroom, the support and mentorship of students, and a dynamic engagement with culture, history, language, theory and literature. The department offers master’s degrees in English and rhetoric and composition, as well as undergraduate degrees in literary studies, film studies, creative writing, professional writing and English education. Learn more at https://english.appstate.edu.
About the College of Arts and Sciences
The College of Arts and Sciences is home to 16 academic departments, one stand-alone academic program, two centers and one residential college. These units span the humanities and the social, mathematical and natural sciences. The College of Arts and Sciences aims to develop a distinctive identity built upon our university's strengths, traditions and unique location. The college’s values lie not only in service to the university and local community, but through inspiring, training, educating and sustaining the development of its students as global citizens. There are approximately 6,100 student majors in the college. As the college is also largely responsible for implementing Appalachian's general education curriculum, it is heavily involved in the education of all students at the university, including those pursuing majors in other colleges. Learn more at https://cas.appstate.edu.
About the Common Reading Program at Appalachian
Since 1997, incoming first-year students at Appalachian State University have been asked to read a book as part of their orientation to the university. By participating in the Common Reading Program, students establish a common experience with other new students that will help develop a sense of community with their new environment and introduce them to a part of the academic life they are beginning at Appalachian. This program is an exciting facet in Appalachian's orientation of new students to life on campus. Learn more at https://commonreading.appstate.edu/about.
About Appalachian State University
As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The Appalachian Experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and to embrace diversity and difference. Located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Appalachian is one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina System. Appalachian enrolls more than 19,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.