I just got off the phone with Troy Carlyle, chair of Tyler Area Gays (Project TAG). Carlyle said he was busy making signs for tonight’s “vigil” outside the Tyler Civic Theatre, where board members are expected to vote on a previously approved production of “The Laramie Project,” the play about the hate crime murder of Matthew Shepard. Carlyle said he’s unsure how the vote will turn out. There are more than 20 board members, and the play was approved unanimously in March. But then a few citizens wrote complaint letters, and the board reportedly is worried that the play will hurt the theater, which is already struggling financially. Project TAG has vowed to stage the production elsewhere if the board votes against it tonight, but Carlyle said he’s hoping for a big turnout at the vigil.
“With a little luck, I’d like to just overwhelm them with people,” he said. “For Tyler, I think this is fairly historic, what’s going on right now. I’ve never been interviewed on all three TV stations.
“I don’t know of another city in the United Statess where ‘The Laramie Project has been an issue,” he said.
“For it to even be an issue in Tyler, is more than ironic considering that we were Laramie before Laramie was Laramie,” he added, referring to the 1993 hate crime murder of Nicholas West in Tyler.
Stay tuned to Instant Tea for updates.