Dustin Lance Black's Prop. 8 Play: Who's Who

BY Jeremy Kinser

September 18 2011 12:55 PM ET

 Dustin Lance Black continues to raise awareness for equality with his new play 8, based on the court trial to overturn Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban.

Black, who won an Academy Award for his acclaimed Milk screenplay, sat in on the trial. “This was the first time I’ve ever seen our case argued by the most capable lawyers in the world, in a court of law where the other side had to raise their right hand and swear to tell the truth,” Black tells Associated Press. “That is where, I think, for the first time, we in the gay and lesbian movement found sanity in the debate about who we are.”

Yet due to Prop. 8 backers successfully convincing the U.S. Supreme Court to bar broadcast of the trial, few people were able to watch it. Only a transcript would be available. “It killed me to think that this would only live inside this courtroom for the dozens to see and not the country to see,” Black says. “It killed me and I think it killed all of us in the room. We immediately started trying to figure out, ‘How do we get this truth out there?'”

Black used the actual words of the trial transcripts, firsthand observations of the courtroom drama, and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families for the script for 8.

The one night only Broadway staged reading on September 19 has drawn one of the most illustrious casts in recent memory, including Ellen Barkin, Matt Bomer, Morgan Freeman, Cheyenne Jackson, Larry Kramer, Christine Lahti, John Lithgow, Rob Reiner, Kate Shindle, Stephen Spinella, and Bradley Whitford, and Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello will direct. 8 will be performed at New York's Eugene O’Neill Theatre (230 West 49th Street). Proceeds from the reading will go directly to the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER), which funds the fight for full federal marriage equality and supports educational efforts on the freedom to marry nationwide.

Following the September 19 debut, AFER and Broadway Impact will license 8 to schools and community organizations nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit afer.org/broadway8. To learn how your local theater can produce 8, visit BroadwayImpact.com.

See the actors next to their real-life counterparts on the following pages.













Tags: Theater

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