Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC), in collaboration with Clifton Performance Theatre, with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, is proud to announce a one-night-only staged 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, 8 will be presented at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, , on Monday, December 3 at 8:00 p.m. Directed by Kevin Crowley.
“Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati has a long history of presenting readings that add to and complement our season offerings,” says ETC Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers. “8 is an excellent script about an important issue, penned by a gifted playwright. As our country moves forward, this is the right time to bring the play to our stage and the most effective way to make that happen now is through this reading,” she concludes.
“Equality Cincinnati welcomes the opportunity provided by Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati and Clifton Performance Theatre to see this play about the Perry v. Schwarzenegger gay marriage case. We look forward to the day that gay marriage is legal in the United States, and this play will be an interesting historical piece,” says local attorney and Equality Cincinnati board member Scott Knox.
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.
“In light of the federal court’s refusal to allow the release of video recordings of the Proposition 8 trial, which sought to deny basic rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans, it is incredibly important that as many people as possible see 8. This show helps uncover the truth about marriage equality and expose the appalling arguments used against it,” explains Council Member Chris Seelbach, who will lead a post-show discussion following the staged reading.
Tickets for the reading are $20 and all proceeds benefit Equality Cincinnati and Human Rights Campaign. For tickets, please contact the Clifton Performance Theatre at or online at www.brownpapertickets.com.
ABOUT THE PLAY
8 had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere on September 19, 2011, at the sold-out Eugene O’Neill Theatre in New York City. The production brought in over $1 million to support AFER’s efforts to achieve full federal marriage equality.
8 had its West Coast premiere reading at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles. The West Coast premiere reading of 8 featured an all-star cast led by Golden Globe Award-winner and Academy and Emmy Award-nominee Brad Pitt as United States District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker; and Academy and Golden Globe Award-winner and Emmy Award-nominee George Clooney and Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Martin Sheen as Plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel David Boies and Theodore B. Olson. 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.
“People need to witness what happened in the Proposition 8 trial, if for no other reason than to see inequality and discrimination unequivocally rejected in a court of law where truth and facts matter,” said AFER Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black. “The goal of 8 is to show the world that marriage equality is a basic constitutional right. The facts are on our side and truth always finds the light. AFER and Broadway Impact are doing all we can to help speed that process along.”
Throughout 2012, AFER and Broadway Impact are licensing 8 for free to colleges and community theatres nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding. Most productions will be 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.”
On February 7, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark decision upholding the historic August 2010 ruling of the Federal District Court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit concluded:
“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”
ABOUT THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR EQUAL RIGHTS
The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of Perry v. Brown, the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced the Perry case through Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality for all Americans. www.AFER.org
ABOUT BROADWAY IMPACT
Broadway Impact is the only grassroots organization of the theatre community and its fans mobilized in support of marriage equality. Tony Award-nominees Rory O’Malley (The Book of Mormon) and Gavin Creel (HAIR) and Production Coordinator Jenny Kanelos founded the organization in direct response to the passage of California’s Proposition 8 in November 2008. Currently, Broadway Impact, in partnership with AFER, licenses and coordinates readings of Dustin Lance Black’s 8 at regional, community and university theaters around the world. Broadway Impact was the recipient of the 2009 Human Rights Campaign Community Award and proudly operates under the fiscal sponsorship of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. www.broadwayimpact.com