Jedadiah Schultz begins his interview by saying he has lived in Wyoming his entire life and his family history in Wyoming goes back generations. Jedadiah then moves on to talking about how his parents could not pay for his college, so Jedadiah entered a high-school theater competition to try to win a scholarship. One of his professors suggested that Jedadiah use a scene from the play Angels in America for the competition. Jedadiah agreed. When Jedadiah told his parents about the competition and the scene, his parents told him that they would not come watch the competition. Jedadiah explains that his parents did not approve of the scene because Jedadiah would be playing a gay character, and they believed homosexuality was wrong.
The play Angels in America centers on the lives of gay characters during the AIDS crisis, and reimagines traditional religious figures in the context of these characters’ lives. By referring to this play in The Laramie Project, the playwrights seem to be cataloguing their place in a genre of theater that recounts and acknowledges LGBT stories. Jedadiah’s comments about his family’s homophobic reactions to the play show how powerfully theater can affect an audience, even if it evokes discomfort and fear rather than connection and catharsis.
However, Jedadiah Schultz decided to do the scene in the competition against his parents’ wishes, and he received first prize, earning him a scholarship to the University of Wyoming. Jedadiah describes the day as one of the best of his life, but he wonders why, since he’s not gay, he did the scene despite his parents’ disapproval. He thinks it’s because he wanted to win. Jedadiah calls the scene “the best scene,” and asks them to tell the playwright that he thinks so, if they happen to know him from the New York theater scene.
Although elsewhere in his first interview Jedadiah notes that he does not support homosexuality, Jedadiah’s insistence on doing the scene and his admiration for the scene’s writing shows how theater allows him to empathize with and appreciate work that centers gay stories. While the scene does not change Jedadiah’s views in itself, it pushes him towards a more compassionate stance.