WEST POTOMAC HIGH SCHOOL'S
READING OF DUSTIN LANCE BLACK’S NEW PLAY “8”
Beyond the Page Theatre Company of West Potomac HS Joins Nationwide Performances of Landmark Marriage Equality Play by Academy Award-Winning Screenwriter of Milk & J. Edgar.
Alexandria, VA – Beyond The Page Theatre Company at West Potomac High School, with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, is proud to announce a 4 performance 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 Hollingsworth v. Perry), the case filed by AFER that successfully overturned Proposition 8and restored the freedom to marry for gay and lesbian couples in California. Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning feature films Milk and J. Edgar, based “8” on the actual words of official trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.
“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 overturn Prop. 8 in federal court.
“8” then had its West Coast premiere at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles. The benefit reading 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 case that restored marriage equality in California..
“People need to witness what happened during 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.” 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 are followed by a talkback where cast and audience members can discuss the issues presented in the Perry trial.
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 June 26, 2013, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision that restored marriage equality to California. Only two days later, the Ninth Circuit lifted its stay on the historic Federal District Court decision that ruled Prop. 8 unconstitutional and gay and lesbian couples could once again marry in California. AFER’s four plaintiffs, Kris & Sandy and Paul & Jeff were the first couples to marry.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR EQUAL RIGHTS
Since its founding in 2009, the American Foundation for Equal Rights has fought for full federal marriage equality for all Americans. As the sole sponsor of the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, AFER brought together bipartisan attorneys Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to secure a victory at the United States Supreme Court that restored marriage equality to our nation's most populous state. AFER continues its legacy of fighting for marriage equality for all Americans through Bostic v. Rainey, the federal constitutional challenge to Virginia’s discriminatory and harmful Marriage Amendment. To learn more, visit www.afer.org.
ABOUT BROADWAY IMPACT Broadway Impact is the only grassroots organization of the theatre community and its fans mobilized in support of marriage equality. Tony Award-nominees Rory O'Malley (The Book of Mormon) and GavinCreel (HAIR) and Production Coordinator Jenny Kanelos founded the organization in direct response to the passage of California’s Proposition 8 in November 2008. Currently, Broadway Impact, in partnership with AFER, licenses and coordinates readings of Dustin Lance Black's "8" at regional, community and university theaters around the world. Broadway Impact was the recipient of the 2009 Human Rights Campaign Community Award and proudly operates under the fiscal sponsorship of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.