Metro Weekly

Ford's Finds a Way

Private funding allows Ford's Theatre To Reopen with performances of ''The Laramie Project''

Ford’s Theatre this afternoon announced that thanks to a donation from Ronald O. Perelman, a member of the Ford’s Theatre Society board of trustees, it will reopen tomorrow, Oct. 16, despite the ongoing federal government shutdown, which has affected Ford’s due to National Park Service operations at the theater. The private funding, $25,000, secures operations through the next eight days.

The government shutdown, which began Oct. 1, has left Ford’s scrambling to make alternate plans for the third iteration of its annual Lincoln Legacy Project. This year that effort centered on a production of The Laramie Project and LGBT issues, including panel discussions and other community-engagement offerings, roughly a year in the planning. The nearby First Congregational United Church of Christ opened its doors to host several performances of The Laramie Project. Notably, Ford’s Center for Education and Leadership, across the street from the theater at 514 10th St. NW, is fully owned by the society and has remained open, featuring an exhibit of letters sent to Matthew Shepard’s family following his murder, titled Not Alone: The Power of Response.

”For 45 years, Ford’s Theatre Society has been honored to operate Ford’s Theatre in a public-private partnership with the National Park Service,” Paul Tetreault, director of Ford’s Theatre Society, said in an announcement released by Ford’s. ”For the last 15 days, both NPS and the Society have been exploring ways to reopen this important historic site to the public. Thanks to the generosity of Ronald O. Perelman, we have found a way to pay NPS’s expenses for the next eight dayg. We look forward to welcoming our patrons back to The Laramie Project as well as to our daytime programming. While we are pleased that we have found a short-term solution, we sincerely hope that the shutdown ends soon, as private dollars cannot replace the government’s role at Ford’s Theatre National Historic Site in the long term.”

The next performance of The Laramie Project will be Oct. 16 at 7:30 p.m. For all remaining performances, any available tickets are $25.

For more information, call 202-347-4833 or visit

Follow Will O'Bryan on Twitter @wobryan.