World Premiere of Not In My Town

Not in My Town is a musical drama in one act based on the events surrounding the death of Matthew Shepard


By polly-burks | 8/19/2016

Florida Atlantic University’s Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters and Opera Fusion  present the world premiere of “Not in My Town,” a musical drama in one act based on the events surrounding the death of Matthew Shepard. There will be one performance on Saturday, Sept. 24 at 7 p.m. and another on Sunday, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m., both in the University Theatre, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and FAU faculty, staff and students are free. To purchase tickets, visit www.fauevents.com, call 800-564-9539 or visit the Box Office in FAU’s Student Union on the Boca Raton campus.

“Not In My Town,” written by Fort Lauderdale composer and librettist Michael W. Ross, tells the story of the 1998 murder of Shepard, a gay Wyoming college student who was beaten and left tied to a fence. The murder brought national and international attention to hate crime legislation. As a result, U.S. Congress passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

“I wrote ‘Not In My Town’ because I don’t think people know what happened after Matthew Shepard died,” Ross said.  “I want the audience to see that good can come from such a terrible tragedy.”

The heroine of “Not In My Town” is Romaine Patterson, Shepard’s high school friend and now an LGBTQA rights activist and radio personality.  She organized counter-protests with peaceful protesters clad in angel-wing costumes that blocked hate mongers and their signs after the Westboro Baptist Church and Rev. Fred Phelps began showing up at Shepard’s funeral, as well as the subsequent trial of his killers.

Opera Fusion, directed by Birgit Fioravante, is a nonprofit artist-driven company of professional South Florida singers.

“This work has everything a new ‘opera’ should have – great music, great drama and a riveting story,” said Fioravante. “The tonal palate is somewhere between grand opera and musical theater. It has the potential to move people much in the same way ‘West Side Story’ first did in its day.”

For more information, call 561-297-3820.

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