"8" the Play - July 20, 2012

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The Ringwald Theatre in partnership with the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact announce a one-night-only reading of “8,” on Friday, July 20, 2012. “8” chronicles the historic trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8 and is written by AFER Founding Board Member and Academy Award-winning writer Dustin Lance Black.

8” is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial of Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental right to marry.

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.

8” had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere on September 19, 2011, at the sold-out Eugene O’Neill Theatre in New York City. A star-studded Los Angeles production occurred on March 3, 2012 featuring Academy Award-winner George Clooney, Brad Pitt, John C. Reilly and others. The productions brought in over one million dollars to support AFER’s efforts to achieve full federal marriage equality. The play is set for multi-city performances in 2012.

The Ringwald performance of “8” takes place on Friday, July 20th, 2012 at 8:00 p.m. at 22742 Woodward Avenue in downtown Ferndale. The production will be directed by Jamie Warrow – who is not only a theatre artist, but also a lawyer. Tickets are a suggested donation of $10 and reservations can be made online at www.TheRingwald.com. All ticket sales and donations will benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the organizational sponsor of the federal lawsuit for marriage equality. An optional community talk-back will follow the reading. For more information please call The Ringwald Theatre at 248-545-5545.

A Talk Back conversation will be held immediately following the production of “8” on July 20. The conversation will be facilitated by Jay Kaplan, LGBT Legal Project Staff Attorney with the ACLU of Michigan. Jay Kaplan has been the staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBT Project since its founding in 2001. He has worked on cases including fighting Michigan’s constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying, defending the validity of second parent adoptions granted in Michigan, and recently advocating for a transgender high school student to be able to run for prom court. Jay was honored with the 2006 Unsung Hero Award from the Michigan State Bar and the 2010 Virginia Uribe Civil Rights Award from the National Education Association (NEA).

“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,” 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.”

In addition to its Broadway and Los Angeles productions, AFER and Broadway Impact are licensing “8” to colleges and community theatres nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding. AFER and Broadway Impact are helping produce these staged readings across the country with a full slate set for 2012.

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 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.”

Proposition 8 was struck down by the Federal District Court in August 2010. That ruling 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 that court to unseal the trial video. The American public was not given a chance to witness the historic trial because the proponents launched a desperate attempt to forever hide the video recording of the trial.

On February 7, 2012, in a 2–1 decision, a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel affirmed Judge Walker's decision declaring the Proposition 8 ban onsame-sex marriageto be unconstitutional. The Perry case is widely anticipated to end up in the United States Supreme Court.

For information on how your local theater can produce “8,” visit: www.8theplay.com. Follow “8”on Twitter: @8theplay or on Facebook.