Holland Taylor, Luke Macfarlane, and More Set for '8' Reading at ACT Tonight, 10/7


American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.), in association with the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, announced today the casting for the one-night-only staged reading of "8" taking place tonight, October 7, 2012, at 7 p.m., at A.C.T.'s Geary Theater (415 Geary Street, San Francisco).

The landmark marriage equality play, written by Academy Award–winning screenwriter (Milk) and AFER Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black, chronicles the historic trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8. Proceeds from the reading benefit AFER and LGBTQ youth participating in A.C.T.'s ACTsmart (formerly known as ArtReach) program, which offers free student matinee tickets and theater-based pre- and postshow workshops at no cost to 23 public high schools in the Bay Area (including all 18 San Francisco public high schools) with large populations of underserved, low-income students who otherwise would have little exposure to the arts. Tickets range in price from $50 to $100. A limited number of $250 seats are available and include premium seating and access to a postperformance reception with the cast. Tickets are on sale now and may be purchased online at act-sf.org or by calling 415.749.2228.

A.C.T.'s reading of "8" will feature playwright Dustin Lance Black, Emmy Award-winning actress Holland Taylor ("The Practice," "Two and a Half Men"), actor Luke MacFarlane ("Brothers & Sisters"), Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez, California Shakespeare Theater Artistic Director Jonathan Moscone, San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Neil Giuliano, and legendary LGBTQ activist Cleve Jones. A.C.T. Associate Director Mark Rucker will direct the reading. Additional casting will be announced at a later date.

The plot of "8"is framed by the trial's historic closing arguments in June 2010 and features the strongest arguments and testimony from both sides. Scenes include flashbacks to some of the more jaw-dropping moments of the 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."

"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," says Black. "I've built my career around exposing and uncovering 'the real story.' The goal of '8' is to show the world that marriage equality is a basic constitutional right and that those who would deny this basic freedom from loving, committed couples have only vitriol and baseless hyperbole to fall back on. The facts are on our side and truth always finds the light. We are doing all we can to help speed that process along."

"8" had its heralded world premiere on Broadway on September 19, 2011, at the sold-out Eugene O'Neill Theater in New York City. The production brought in more than one million dollars to support AFER's efforts to achieve full federal marriage equality. "8" recently had its West Coast premiere at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, where it featured an all-star cast, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, John C. Reilly, and Kevin Bacon.

Proposition 8 was struck down by a federal district court in August 2010. That decision was appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit by the anti-marriage proponents of Proposition 8. AFER's legal team was at the Ninth Circuit in December 2011 for a hearing to urge the court to unseal the trial video-a request that was denied. In February 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a ruling upholding the historic August 2010 decision of the federal district court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

To purchase tickets, visit act-sf.org or call 415.749.2228. For additional information about "8", visit: www.8theplay.com.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.

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