Oklahoma Theatre Guild Presents Dustin Lance Black's '8', 9/30

Oklahoma Theatre Guild Presents Dustin Lance Black's '8', 9/30

The Oklahoma Theatre Guild, in cooperation with The Cimarron Alliance, with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, has announced 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.

"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.

The One-Night-Only reading will be held at the Civic Center's Freede Theatre located at 201 N. Walker in Oklahoma City on Sunday, September 30th, 2012 at 7:00 pm. Admission is free, but reservations are STRONGLY suggested. Reservations can be made by email to tickets@8inOK.org or by calling 405.397.7689.

The Oklahoma Theatre Guild is an organization of theatre artists and technicians from throughout central Oklahoma who work together to promote and support theatre arts in Oklahoma.

With this production, The Oklahoma Theatre Guild joins staged readings at leading regional theaters across the nation in encouraging dialogue and examining the question of equality. Under the direction of Lyric Theatre's Stephen Hilton, and produced by Hilton and City Rep's Donald Jordan, this project has brought together an unprecedented gathering of Oklahoma theatre talent representing theatres and universities from our area, including, but not limited to
City Rep, Ghostlight Theatre, Lyric Theatre, Oklahoma City Theatre Company, Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma Shakespeare in the Park, Pollard Theatre, Reduxion Theatre, The University of Central Oklahoma and The University of Oklahoma.

The cast includes Matthew Alvin Brown, Mitchell Brown, Brian Berry, Shawn Churchman, Lane Fields, Brian Hamilton, Jon Haque, Rachel Irick, Robert Matson, Elliot Mattox, Charlie Monnott, Tom Orr, Hui Cha Poos, Jonathan Beck Reed, Kris Schinske, Matthew Sipress, Jerome Stevenson, Brian Stockton, Jennifer Teel, Brenda Williams, Tyler Woods.

"8" had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere on September 19, 2011, at the sold-out Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City. .

"8" had its West Coast premiere reading at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Saturday, 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.

"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 theatres and colleges nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding. The production will be followed by a talk-back session where Scott J. Hamilton of the Cimarron Alliance and Meredith Kemp-Pappan, pastor at Central Presbyterian Church in Oklahoma City will discuss issues presented in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial.

"This production has received an extraordinary outpouring of support and cooperation from our creative community", said Donald Jordan, Founding Artistic Director of The Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre (City Rep) Company, and co-producer of '8'. "An unparalleled assemblage of so many of our community's leading (and busiest!) Artists is an indication of how committed people are to the question of basic fairness and equality for all Americans."

Jordan's co-producer, Stephen Hilton of Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma City continues, "Sometimes we get so caught up in budgets and bottom lines that we forget what got us into theatre in the first place. I always tell my students at UCO that if theatre isn't relevant it stands in danger of becoming irrelevant. Like Don, I'm a big believer in 'Activist theatre' – that is – theatre which not only entertains, but which has a point – which has a chance of changing people minds and perhaps their lives. '8' is all of that."

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."

Admission is free, but reservations are STRONGLY encouraged.

To reserve tickets, email tickets@8inOK.org or call 405.397.6789

Follow "8"on Twitter: @8theplay or on Facebook.

"8" in OK's CAST LIST:

Clerk Jon Haque
Broadcast Journalist Tyler Woods
Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker Jerome Stevenson
Theodore B. Olson (Plaintiffs' attorney) Jonathan Beck Reed
David Boies (Plaintiffs' attorney) Shawn Churchman
Charles J. Cooper (Proponents' attorney) Tom Orr
Jeff Zarrillo (Plaintiff) Charlie Monnott
Paul Katami (Plaintiff) Matthew Sipress
Sandy Stier (Plaintiff) Jennifer Steel
Kris Perry (Plaintiff) Kris Schinske
Elliott (Kris & Sandy's son) Elliott Mattox
Spencer (Kris & Sandy's son) Mitchell Brown
Dr. Nancy Cott (Plaintiffs' witness) Rachel Irick
Maggie Gallagher (Marriage equality opponent) Brenda Williams
Dr. Ilan Meyer (Plaintiffs' witness) Lane Fields
Ryan Kendall (Plaintiffs' witness) Brian Barry
Dr. Gregory Herek (Plaintiffs' witness) Robert Matson
Dr. Gary Segura (Plaintiffs' witness) Brian Stockton
Dr. Hak-Shing Tam (Prop. 8 proponent) Hui Cha Poos
David Blankenhorn (Proponents' witness) Matthew Alvin Brown
EVan Wolfson (Marriage equality advocate) Brian Hamilton

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

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

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