Richard Dreyfuss, Lance Bass, Annette O'Toole and More to Headline San Diego Reading of '8', 11/19
Production & Celebrity Entertainment, 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 San Diego, one night only benefit reading of "8" will be staged on Monday November 19th 2012 at 7:30PM at the historic Birch North Park Theatre (2891 University Avenue San Diego, CA 92104). Net proceeds from the reading will benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and will feature a cast of high profile celebrity actors.
Scheduled to appear are Lance Bass (NSYNC), Richard Dreyfuss (Academy Award-Winner), Annette O'Toole (Academy Award-nominee, TV's Smallville), and Bruce Vilanch (Emmy Award-winning Comic, Hollywood Squares), as well as San Diego's best local talent. Beloved San Diegans; City Councilman Todd Gloria will read the part of Judge Vaughn Walker and Lisa Sanders will read the part of Court Clerk. More celebrities will be announced in the coming weeks. The play will be directed by San Diego Theatre Critics Circle award winner, Brian Wells. Immediately following the reading, there will be a short talk back session featuring marriage equality advocates including writer Dustin Lance Black, Honorable Mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders, and other very special guests. The San Diego reading of "8" is sponsored in part by Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, Merrill Lynch and Imperial Court de San Diego. More cast members to be announced shortly.
Tickets are available by calling the Birch North Park Theatre box office at 619.239.8836 or online at www.birchnorthparktheatre.net. Tickets START at $19.50. A limited amount of VIP tickets will be available for $75.00 each. VIP tickets include preferred seating and access to Meet and Greet (scheduled for 6:00PM Monday November 19th) with the cast and special guests.
Gregory Cruz, Producer
Brian Wells, Director
Jeannette Thomas, Assistant Director
Jennifer Wheeler Kahn, Stage Manager
Joe Altbaum, Associate Producer
"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.
"My partner Tom and I (in life and business) are honored to be selected to produce "8" in our community, especially due to President Obama's recent historic announcement about his support for marriage equality. We hope that many more in the San Diego community will join us and stand behind the President in the fight for marriage equality."
-Greg Cruz, Executive Producer, Production & Celebrity Entertainment
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."
For information on how your local theater can produce "8," visit: www.8theplay.com. Follow "8"on Twitter: @8theplay or on Facebook.
About American Foundation for Equal Rights
The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of the Perry case. 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 is now leading it through the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals before the case is brought to the United States Supreme Court. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality. For more information, visit www.AFER.org.
Broadway Impact is a non-profit organization of theatre artists and fans mobilized in support of marriage equality. Founded in 2008 by Tony Award-nominated performers Rory O'Malley (Book of Mormon), Gavin Creel (HAIR) and Production Coordinator Jenny Kanelos, BROADWAY IMPACT works to educate and inspire the theatre community into action. Recent initiatives include helping to staff the phone banking efforts in New York State, creating a 3,000 piece letter writing campaign, gaining the funding for 1,400 supporters to attend the National Equality March and producing a rally for over 5,000 attendees in Midtown Manhattan where speakers included, Cynthia Nixon, Audra McDonald, David Hyde Pierce, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Governor David Paterson. BROADWAY IMPACT was awarded the 2009 Human Rights Campaign Community Award. For more information, go to www.BROADWAYIMPACT.com.
Production & Celebrity Entertainment is an entertainment consultant and producer of numerous high quality concerts and special events for non-profit organizations. Over its more that 25 year history, the company has worked with non-profits such as the Boys & Girls Club, San Diego Youth & Community Services, Emilio Nares Foundation and San Diego Rady's Children's Hospital, among others and have produced events for such corporations as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Carnival Cruises, to name a few.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.