Groves Cabin Theatre Joins Nationwide Productions of Landmark Marriage Equality Play by Academy Award-Winning Screenwriter of Milk & J. Edgar
Morongo Valley, California – Groves Cabin Theatre, in conjunction with Equality California and the Morongo Basin Foundation for Equal Rights, and with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, is proud to announce the performance of a dramatic 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” will be performed on Saturday evenings at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. for three weekends only from Saturday, January 12, through Sunday, January 27.
“8” is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in 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 freedom to marry.
Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning feature film Milk and the film J. Edgar, 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. The production brought in over $1 million to support AFER’s efforts to achieve full federal marriage equality.
“8” had its West Coast premiere reading at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles. The West Coast premiere reading of “8” 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 fight to secure full federal marriage equality.
“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.”
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 February 7, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark decision upholding the historic August 2010 ruling of the Federal District Court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional. The Ninth Circuit concluded:
“Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”
Throughout 2012, AFER and Broadway Impact are licensing “8” for free to colleges and community theatres nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding. Each performance will be followed by a talkback hosted by local marriage equality advocates where cast and audience members can discuss the issues presented in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial.
Groves Cabin Theatre hopes that our presentation of this fact-based play will enlighten those who see it and create a better and deeper understanding of this fight that’s crucial to changing hearts and minds regarding marriage equality in California. All proceeds from these performances will be donated to AFER. We would also like to express our gratitude to Equality California for generously providing our programs and posters.
The Groves production of “8” will be directed by multiple Desert Theatre League award winner Vicki Montgomery, who directs a cast featuring some of the finest acting talents in the Morongo Basin and the Coachella Valley, many of whom are also DTL award winners. Cast members include Jim Babb, Sarah Case, Wendy Cohen, Scott Cutler, Abe Daniels, Marge Doyle, Kody Fleischman, Steve Fuji, Dan Graff, Sebastiano Grosso, Joy Groves, Bob Harrison, Charles Harvey, Anja Homburg, Mike Lipsitz, Ben Sasnett, Kurt Schauppner, Bethany Sorensen, Lloyd Steele, Donette Swain, and Karl Weimer. The cast will be supported by Stage Manager Mike Lipsitz and Light and Sound Technician Darin Eldridge.
Groves Cabin Theatre has won numerous Desert Theatre League awards for its high quality productions. The tiny 21-seat theater offers one of the most intimate theatrical experiences in the world—that experience having been described as being, “like being a fly on the wall, witnessing real life happening before my eyes.” The limited seating means early reservations are a must.
“8” will be performed Saturday evenings at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday afternoons at 2:30 p.m. from Saturday, January 12, through Sunday, January 27. Groves Cabin Theatre is located at 8768 Desert Willow Trail in Morongo Valley north of Highway 62 (look for the large red, white, and blue stone on the north side of the highway). Tickets for all seats are $12. For additional information and reservations call: 760-365-4523; www.grovescabintheatre.org. Check out our page at www.8theplay.com.
Follow “8”on Twitter: @8theplay or on Facebook.