A.R.T. Presents Dustin Lance Black's '8' With Gavin Creel-Led Talkback Tonight, 4/30
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by BWW News Desk
The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, presents a one-night-only reading of "8," a play chronicling the historic trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8, written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and AFER Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black at OBERON tonight, April 30th at 8pm.
"8" is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry. Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning feature film Milk and the film J. Edgar, based "8" on the actual words of the trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.
Tonight's April 30th reading of "8" at OBERON is directed by Thomas Derrah, and features Tony Award nominated performer Gavin Creel in the role of Ted Olson. The reading will also feature a cast of local performers including Steven Barkhimer, Larry Coen, David Costa, Kerry Dowling, Joyce Kulhawik, John Kuntz, Grant MacDermott, Nael Nacer, Rick Park, and Matthew Wood.
The reading will be followed by a talk-back led by Gavin Creel, with panelists Gary Buseck, Director of Public Affairs and Education for the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and Timothy McCarthy, Director of the Sexuality, Gender, and Human Rights Program at the Carr Center at Harvard University.
"8" had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere on September 19, 2011 and brought in over $1 million to support AFER's efforts to achieve full federal marriage equality. "8" had its West Coast premiere reading on March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles featuring an all-star cast led by Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Martin Sheen. The benefit reading was directed by AFER Founding Board Member Rob Reiner, and raised more than $2 million for the fight to secure full federal marriage equality.
Throughout 2012, AFER and Broadway Impact are licensing "8" free of charge to colleges and community theaters nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding. Most productions are followed by a talkback where cast and audience members can discuss the issues presented in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial.
The story for "8" is framed by the trial's historic closing arguments in June 2010, and features the best arguments and testimony from both sides. Scenes include flashbacks to some of the more jaw-dropping moments of trial, such as the admission by the Proposition 8 supporters' star witness, David Blankenhorn, that "we would be more American on the day we permitted same-sex marriage than we were on the day before."