Noted equality advocates such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Bomer, Kevin Bacon, Martin Sheen, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Jane Lynch helped raise more than $2 million as they reenacted the real-life courtroom and personal drama in 8, Dustin Lance Black's retelling of the historic legal battle to overturn Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban.
Black adapted 8 from the actual words of the trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families. "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," Black said in a statement. "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."
Film director Bryan Singer was the presenting sponsor of the event, a fundraiser for American Foundation for Equal Rights. Rob Reiner directed the staged reading, which featured Bad Pitt as Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, George Clooney and Martin Sheen as attorneys as David Boies and Theodore Olson, respectively. Matt Bomer and Matthew Morrison played plaintiffs Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, while Jamie Lee Curtis and Christine Lahti embodied plaintiffs Sandi Stier and Kris Perry. Jane Lynch evoked an even more rigid version of her Glee character Sue Sylvester when she read the words of Maggie Gallagher and her spirited duel of words with activist Cleve Jones, who portrayed equality advocate Evan Wolfson was one of the evening's comedic highlights.
The audience was as star-studded as the on-stage cast. In attendance were Barbra Streisand with husband James Brolin, Sally Field, Vanessa Williams, Leonard Nimoy, Toni Collette, Sofia Vergara, and California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.
An audience from around the world tuned in to watch a live stream of the West Coast premiere reading of 8 last night. You can now watch the entire play below (forward ahead to the 30 minute mark).