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Dustin Lance Black's Star-Studded '8' is Tonight; Show Sells Out!

 

"8," a new play chronicling the historic trial in the federal legal challenge to California's Proposition 8 will have its World Premiere on Broadway in a one night-only staged reading to benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER). The play is written by AFER Founding Board Member and Academy Award-winning writer Dustin Lance Black and directed by two-time Tony Award-winning actor and director Joe Mantello. Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning feature film Milk, 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 reading is now completely sold-out!

The one night only Broadway staged reading stars Bob Balaban, Ellen Barkin, Matt Bomer, Campbell Brown, Anthony Edwards, K. Todd Freeman, Morgan Freeman, Jayne Houdyshell, Cheyenne Jackson, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Larry Kramer, Christine Lahti, Ken Leung, John Lithgow, Rory O'Malley, Rob Reiner, Ben Rosenfield, Kate Shindle, Yeardley Smith, Stephen Spinella and Bradley Whitford.

Following the New York debut on September 19th, AFER and Broadway Impact will license "8" to schools and community organizations nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding. AFER and Broadway Impact will coordinate these staged readings across the country, so that "8" will live on beyond its September premiere.

The story for "8" is framed by the trial's historic closing arguments in June 2010, but features the best arguments and witness testimony presented by both legal teams. Scenes include reenactments of many of the well-documented jaw-dropping moments of trial, such as the admission by the Prop. 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."

AFER prevailed in federal district court when, based on the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Chief Judge Walker concluded that California had no rational basis or vested interest in denying gays and lesbians marriage licenses and thus found Proposition 8 "unconstitutional" on August 4, 2010. It is currently under appeal by the anti-marriage proponents and is being expedited through the court system at a relatively rapid pace.

Unfortunately, the American public was not given a chance to witness the historic trial because the proponents of Proposition 8 launched a number of desperate attempts to forever hide the trial videotapes. Although the trial proceedings were open to the public, and all courtroom testimony and events were thoroughly documented, the trial video most vividly compares the weakness of the proponents' arguments to the well-reasoned, valid and constitutionally-based arguments and evidence put forth by AFER's renowned legal team, plaintiffs and expert witnesses.

The trial videotapes have been kept under seal due to a federal protective order. On August 29th, 2011, AFER's legal team made a strong case for the full and unedited release of the trial recordings at a hearing before Chief Judge Ware at US District Court. While a swift decision is expected from Chief Judge Ware, there is no guarantee that the trial footage will ever be available for the public to see. This is precisely the reason Black wrote "8."

Proceeds from the September 19th reading will go directly to the fight for full federal marriage equality and to support educational efforts on the freedom to marry nationwide.

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