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USA: Prop 8 Play Marks 400th Performance

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

Prop 8 PlayDustin Lance Black’s play “8” reached its 400th performance this week. AFER reports:

“8,” the hit play by Dustin Lance Black about marriage for gay and lesbian couples, continues to sweep the country and the world. Fremont, OH is the 400th confirmed reading, which are taking place at a variety of professional, community, college and high school theaters. The 50 year-old Fremont Community Theatre will stage readings on September 13 and 14 in their 500+ seat performance space located an hour and a half outside Cleveland.

We’ve seen it three times – once from L.A. in the podcast version, once in Davis, California, and once in Sacramento.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources.

Illinois, USA: Gay Activists Discuss Marriage Equality After “8” Performance

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Illinois, USA: Gay Activists Discuss Marriage Equality After "8" PerformanceTwo of the state’s top LGBT rights activists led a short discussion on the progress of Illinois marriage equality following a reading of “8 at Center Stage Theater in west suburban Naperville Thursday.

Rick Garcia, policy director at The Civil Rights Agenda and Caroline Staerk, director of field programs at Equality Illinois, answered questions from the audience of over 50 gathered for the performance of “8,” which chronicles the long legal battle over California’s Proposition 8, written by Milk scribe Dustin Lance Black.

Some audience members asked questions about the prospect of marriage equality in Illinois following successful ballot measures in four states to approve it in the recent General Election and both activists were quick to note the conducive legislative climate in the state and, at the same time, the challenges of progress.

Authored By Tony Merevick – See the Full Story at the Chicago Phoenix

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Illinois.

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Prop 8 Play Shines in Sacramento

Sunday, October 21st, 2012

8 in SacramentoWe spent a memorable evening last night in downtown Sacramento. Dustin Lance Black’s powerful, lifted-from-the-transcripts play “8”, detailing the trial that overturned Prop 8 in California, finally made it to town.

We’ve seen the play before, but this staging was our favorite to-date. Kate Sullivan Gibbens, who was the researcher for the play, sifting through piles and piles of transcripts to select the ones that made it into “8”, was back in her hometown to direct this version.

"8" in SacramentoKate looked pretty kick-ass in her knee-high red boots.

She did a fantastic job, pulling together a great pool of talent that included gay West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon (who also supported the play financially); local actor Kurt Johnson, who seems to be in every play at our own local favorite, the B Street Theatre; actor, voiceover artist and LGBT advocate Ben Patrick Johnson, and our favorite of the night, actress Janis Stevens, who took on the role of Maggie Gallagher with relish – she was a delight to watch (photo below).

"8" in SacramentoThe reading included a minimal set, with witness tables and a judge’s podium, as well as samples of the misleading commercials the opposition aired during the election – these are always a little painful to watch.

"8" in SacramentoThe cast had just one read-through before the performance, but they pulled it off admirably, and the audience (great turnout, by the way) alternately booed and applauded.

For anyone who doesn’t already now. “8” is pulled directly from the transcripts of the trial word for word – marriage equality opponents fought tooth and nail to keep the videos of the trial under wraps, so now instead this play has been performed nationwide more than 275 times, with many more to come. See a full list at:

http://www.8theplay.com

http://www.8theplay.comAfter the show, the cast stuck around for a Q and A with the audience. The panelists were Kris and Sandy, Dr. Gregory Herek (played by Michael RJ Campbell), Professor David Levine, Kate Sullivan Gibbens, and the full cast.

Kris and Sandy, who have agreed to do a short interview with Gay Marriage Watch, were initially married in 2004, and when the California Supreme Court invalidated their marriage and San Francisco sent back their payment for the marriage license, it was very painful. They decided to wait when the Court legalized marriage equality in 2008 because of the previous painful experience, but soon regretted the decision. They were friends with Rob Reiner, who encouraged them to join the lawsuit.

Dr. Herek first became involved in the Prop 8 case in September, 2009, because he had done a lot of research into sexual orientation. He came in for a ten hour deposition for the case in November, and in January, 2010, spent a full day in trial for the case. He was also involved in the Massachusetts challenge to DOMA at the same time.

http://www.8theplay.comProfessor Levine pointed out that the Prop 8 trial represented the first time that a judge actually required proof from the anti-gay side of all their talking points – unlike, for instance, in a prior New York case where the state Supreme Court basically said that the justification for limiting marriage to a man and a woman was to force straight guys to “man up” when they got women pregnant. In the Prop 8 case, when asked for proof, the witnesses just “folded like a deck of cards.”

I had a chance to ask Janis Stevens what it was like playing Maggie Gallagher. The actress confessed that she didn’t initially know who she was – she asked a gay friend about it, and he told her she was “playing the most evil woman on earth!” She studied Maggie a lot, and enjoyed the role, but stressed that she was nothing like our arch-nemesis.

http://www.8theplay.comAfter the play and Q&A, we headed over to Headhunters to hang out for a bit at the after party. There we chatted a bit more with Janis Stevens, and also got to hang out with Ben Phillips, the actor playing Dr. Tam (who had one of the best lines of the night. “Where did you find this information?” “It’s in the internet!”

Ben’s a nice guy, and he just happens to be running for the utility board (SMUD) here in Sacramento as an openly gay man.

All in all, it was a fantastic night that raised a lot of money for the cause. Thanks so much to Kate for pulling this all together!

California, USA: The Sacramento Reading of “8” The Play is Tonight at the Crest Theater

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

8 The Play in SacramentoIf you’re in Sacramento, be sure to come down to the Crest Theater tonight – Dustin Lance Black’s play about the Prop 8 trial, titled simply “8”, will be featured in a reading at The Crest Theater at 8 PM.

Gay West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon will be a part of the cast, along with other local celebrities, and the whole thing is being directed by Kate Sullivan Gibbens, the researcher who worked on the play with Dustin Lance Black.

She’ll also be hosting a panel about the play and Prop 8 after the show.

Mark and I will be there, too – we’d love to meet you! So come down to The Crest tonight and support marriage equality!

More Info: http://8insacramento.com

Buy tickets: http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?agency=TDC&pid=7338905

Countdown to “8” the Play Reading in Sacramento on Saturday Night

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

8 The Play in SacramentoKate Sullivan Gibbens, with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, is proud to announce a one-night-only reading of “8,” Saturday, October 20, 2012 at the downtown Crest Theater.

“8” is 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.

Black, who pinned 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 of the unprecedented case of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown).

The case was filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the “fundamental freedom to marry”.

Gibbens, Producer/Director of the Sacramento production of “8,” worked with Black on the original play and is a graduate of UCLA with a MFA in Playwriting. “I’m excited to be able to bring to my hometown a project I am so proud of having a part in creating,” said Gibbens.

Following the play’s reading there will be a panel discussion concerning the play, and the history and future of Prop. 8. Kate Sullivan Gibbens will discuss adapting the trial transcripts to the play and working with Dustin Lance Black. Other panel members include plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandra Stier. Sacramento’s Steve Hanson will be speaking and Larry Levine, Law Professor at the McGeorge School of Law will be on the panel.

“8” had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere on September 19, 2011 in New York City. Its West Coast premiere was at the Wilshire Ebell Theater on Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles with an all-star cast.

“People need to witness what happened in the Prop 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.”

Currently, casting for the Sacramento production is almost complete. A majority of the participating actors and notable personalities will be local with a few acceptations.
.

“8” will play at the Crest Theater (1013 K Street Downtown Sacramento) at 8pm, Saturday, October, 20, 2012. Tickets are on sale and range from $18, $28 $48, to $80VIP. This is a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. For more information and tickets go to: www.8insacramento.com and LIKE their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/8insacramento.com .

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Casting Notes:

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon will play Judge Walker.

Amanda Foreman, known from Felicity, Alias, Private Practice, Parenthood and many others will be joining the cast as Plaintiff Kris Perry.

Playing the three lawyers will be actor/activist Ben Patrick Johnson
(www.benpatrickjohnson.com) as Ted Olson, B Street Theater favorite, Kurt Johnson as David Boies, and Sacramento Theater Company powerhouse, Matt K. Miller as Charles Cooper.

Los Angeles Comedian Thai Rivera (www.thairivera.com) will play plaintiff Jeff Zarillo along with Evan Brienza as Paul Katami.

Local teen actor twins, Grant and Austin Laut will portray Spencer and Eliott Perry.

Los Angeles actor and playwright Patrick Burns is featured as witness Ryan Kendall, along with Steve Minnow, Robin Hushbeck, Eason Donner, Michel RJ Campbell, and Nanci Zoppi. Also playing witnesses is local politician Ben Phillips and gay rights pioneer George Raya.

Janis Stevens will take on gay rights foe, Maggie Gallagher and Jessica Goldman will play the clerk.

“8” SACRAMENTO CAST LIST

Broadcast Journalist (TBA)
Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker Christopher Cabaldon (Mayor of West Sacramento)
Theodore B. Olson (Plaintiffs’ attorney) Ben Patrick Johnson (Model, Actor, Gay Activist www.benpatrickjohnson.com )
David Boies (Plaintiffs’ attorney) Kurt Johnson (Sacramento Actor)
Charles J. Cooper (Proponents’ attorney) Matt K Miller (Sacramento Actor, Director, Playwright, Teacher)
Jeff Zarrillo (Plaintiff) Thai Rivera (LA – Comic – http://thairivera.com/)
Paul Katami (Plaintiff) Evan Brienza (Sacramento Actor)
Sandy Stier (Plaintiff) (TBA)
Kris Perry (Plaintiff) Amanda Foreman (LA Actress
Elliot (Kris and Sandy’s son) Grant Laut (Sacramento Actor)
Spencer (Kris and Sandy’s son) Austin Laut (Sacramento Actor)
Dr. Nancy Cott (Plaintiffs’ witness) Robin Hushbeck (Sacramento Actress)
Maggie Gallaager (Marriage Equality opponent) Janis Stevens (Sacramento Actress)
Dr. Ilan Meyer (Plaintiff’s witness) Eason Donner (Sacramento Actor)
Ryan Kendall (Plaintiff’s witness) Patrick Burns (LA – From Foster Care to Fabulous)
Dr. Gregory Herek (Plaintiff’s witness) Michael RJ Campbell (Sacramento Actor)
Dr. Gary Segura (Plaintiff’s witness) Nanci Zoppi (Sacramento Actress)
Dr. William Tam (Prop 8 proponent) Ben Phillips (running for SMUD board)
David Blanenhorn (Proponent’s witness) Steve Minnow (Sacramento Actor)
Evan Wolfson (Marriage Equality advocate) George Raya (Gay Rights Pioneer)
Court clerk Jessica Goldman

Ticket Price Reduced for “8” in Sacramento This Saturday

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

8 the Play in SacramentoDustin Lance Black’s renowned play “8” will be staged for the first time in Sacramento this coming weekend at the Crest Theater.

Directed by Kate Sullivan Gibbens, the researcher for the play, the reading includes apearances by a number of local celebrities, including gay West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon.

According to The Crest:

Following the play’s reading there will be a panel discussion concerning the play, and the history and future of Prop. 8. Kate Sullivan Gibbens will discuss adapting the trial transcripts to the play and working with Dustin Lance Black. Other panel members include plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandra Stier. Sacramento’s Steve Hanson will be speaking and Dr. Larry Levine, Law Professor at the McGeorge School of Law will be on the panel.

Visit the 8 in Sacramento Website Here

Buy Tickets Here

Let’s get out and support this great venture here in Sacramento!

Gay Marriage Watch Interviews Kate Sullivan Gibbens, Researcher for “8” The Play

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

* Play in DavisMark and I attended the Davis presentation of “8”, the play about Prop 8 that dramatizes the Prop 8 trial using the actual transcripts of the trial. The Davis production was put on by Studio 301, a student theater group. It was a very intimate setting, much different than seeing it with the stars on YouTube – and the directory made the interesting choice to have women play all three attorneys.

Afterwards, the cast held a back-and-forth with the audience, and w ehad the pleasure to meet Kate Sullivan Gibbens, the dramaturge (credited as researcher) for “8” – who spent untold hours going over the transcript, helping Dustin Lance Black put together the play.

Kate is putting on a new reading of the play at the Crest Theater in downtown Sacramento.  Kate graciously agreed to let us do an interview about “8” and about her own work:

Kate Sullivan GibbensGMW: How did you first get involved in the fight for marriage equality?

Kate: I’ve always been a political person. When I was 5, my mother took me to see Al Gore speak and I stayed up late the night before making a sign covered in recycling symbols. I’ve always been personally on the side of marriage equality, but I am one of those people who didn’t really realize what an uphill battle it was until after Proposition 8 had passed.

I had just finished college in Boston at the time, and had voted absentee in California. I remember celebrating President Obama’s victory for a couple of hours when I learned Prop 8 had actually passed. I was absolutely shocked. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t in the state at the time, but I had just assumed that the majority of Californians stood FOR marriage equality.

I knew I had to do something, so the next day I went to the Boston protest at Government Center. Seeing so many people show up to rally around equality in a state that already had gay marriage rights moved me into action.

GMW: How did you get involved with “8”?

Kate: Dustin Lance Black had sent an email out to the head of the film department at UCLA looking for a playwright to work with him on going through trial transcripts and interviews and putting the script together for “8.”

Coincidentally, we had just read the screenplay for “Milk” in my playwriting class, and I had done a little research on Lance for the class. So when my teacher read the email aloud to us I jumped at the chance to interview with him.

I met Lance at a coffee shop a couple weeks later. He was at once easy-going and incredibly focused and we actually got right to work that day.

GMW: What, exactly, is a dramaturg?

Kate: I am actually listed as researcher on the script,I just tend to use the term “dramaturg” as a sort of catch-all to describe my work on the project. Traditionally, a dramaturg works on the research involved in creating a piece, along with overseeing the play’s development.

However, I find it to be a highly malleable position that changes with every play that utilizes the position. Since the grand majority of “8” is pulled directly from trial transcripts, interviews and articles, I did a lot of reading.

I remember walking over to Lance’s house to pick up the trial transcripts and having to call someone to pick me up – I hadn’t realized it would be four giant stacks of pages!

GMW: How does the whole “8” play thing work? What are some of the guidelines given to theaters who want to perform the play?

“8” is licensed through Broadway Impact (www.broadwayimpact.com), an organization that is committed to pursuing marriage equality through theatre. They are really a fantastic organization, and always there to help with any producing questions.

Kate: Anyone can apply to produce “8,” whether you’re a theatre company, school group, community organization, or just one motivated person. Once approved, they give you options for different styles of readings and then help you to make your reading a success. Money raised at performances of “8” goes to the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the sole sponsor of Perry v. Brown.

GMW: Tell me a little about the upcoming Sacramento performance of “8”

Kate: I am so proud to be able to bring “8” back to the town I grew up in. The performance is Saturday October 20th at 8pm, at the Crest Theatre. There’s more information available at www.8insac.com, but I am really excited to talk about our cast.

Coming up from LA, we have comedian Thai Rivera (LOGO, Comedy Central), as well as actor/composer Patrick Burns (From Foster Care to Fabulous). We also have the mayor of West Sacramento, Christopher Cabaldon, playing Judge Walker and gay rights pioneer George Raya as Evan Wolfson.

The rest of the cast is made up of some outrageously talented Sacramento actors including Kurt Johnson, Nanci Zoppi and Steve Minnow. We also have the plaintiffs from the trial, Kris Perry and Sandy Stier coming to speak at the post-show discussion. Keep up with us at www.facebook.com/8insacramento for more updates.

GMW: What would you say to gay and lesbian couples who live in places where marriage equality is not recognized?

Kate: I know a lot of people are waiting to get married until they can make it legal and official, and that is something I completely understand and respect. If you do decide to get married now, before it is legally recognized, I say don’t be afraid to use the term “husband” or “wife.”

The more we can be out in our community (when it is safe to do so) and show people what families can and do look like, the more we can affect those people who are still on the fence about marriage equality.

I would also say, no matter the outcome of various elections and court cases in your state, don’t give up. Minds and hearts are changing, and marriage rights will be granted to LGBT individuals eventually. Thankfully, organizations like AFER are working to make sure it happens as soon as possible.

GMW: What are you working on now?

Kate: I recently had a reading of a play, “click,” which I am looking to get produced. It tells the story of Cole, a female-to-male transgender person who begins to have doubts about the way he’s handled his transition.

It’s a play with some great characters and it explores a lot of the issues surrounding society’s need for labels. I am also writing a two-person show with Caitlin Ary, a really talented performer I directed in Spring Awakening in Los Angeles.

The working title is “Fluid” and it uses music and storytelling to dig into the way the identities of two bisexual women keep shifting as they have romantic relationships with men and women. We’re looking to workshop that this spring in Los Angeles, and I am excited to be on stage again.

Proposition 8 Trial in Session at Sacramento’s Crest Theater

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

8 in SacramentoKate Sullivan Gibbens, with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, is proud to announce a one-night-only reading of “8,” Saturday, October 20, 2012 at the downtown Crest Theater.

“8” is 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.

Black, who pinned 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 of the unprecedented case of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown).

The case was filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the “fundamental freedom to marry”.

Gibbens, Producer/Director of the Sacramento production of “8,” worked with Black on the original play and is a graduate of UCLA with a MFA in Playwriting. “I’m excited to be able to bring to my hometown a project I am so proud of having a part in creating,” said Gibbens.

Following the play’s reading there will be a panel discussion concerning the play, and the history and future of Prop. 8. Kate Sullivan Gibbens will discuss adapting the trial transcripts to the play and working with Dustin Lance Black. Other panel members include plaintiffs Kris Perry and Sandra Stier. Sacramento’s Steve Hanson will be speaking and Larry Levine, Law Professor at the McGeorge School of Law will be on the panel.

“8” had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere on September 19, 2011 in New York City. Its West Coast premiere was at the Wilshire Ebell Theater on Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles with an all-star cast.

“People need to witness what happened in the Prop 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.”

Currently, casting for the Sacramento production is underway. A majority of the participating actors will be local with one or two acceptations.

“8” will play at the Crest Theater (1013 K Street Downtown Sacramento) at 8pm, Saturday, October, 20, 2012. Tickets are on sale and range from $18, $48, to $80VIP. This is a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Equal Rights. For more information and tickets go to: www.8insacramento.com and LIKE their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/8insacramento.com .

“8” SACRAMENTO CAST LIST

Broadcast Journalist (TBA)
Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker Christopher Cabaldon (Mayor of West Sacramento)
Theodore B. Olson (Plaintiffs’ attorney) (TBA)
David Boies (Plaintiffs’ attorney) Kurt Johnson (Sacramento Actor)
Charles J. Cooper (Proponents’ attorney) (TBA)
Jeff Zarrillo (Plaintiff) Thai Rivera (LA – Comic – http://thairivera.com/)
Paul Katami (Plaintiff) Evan Brienza
Sandy Stier (Plaintiff) (TBA)
Kris Perry (Plaintiff) (TBA)
Elliot (Kris and Sandy’s son) Grant Laut (Sacramento Actor)
Spencer (Kris and Sandy’s son) Austin Laut (Sacramento Actor)
Dr. Nancy Cott (Plaintiffs’ witness) Robin Hushbeck (Sacramento Actress)
Maggie Gallaager (Marriage Equality opponent) Janis Stevens (Sacramento Actress)
Dr. Ilan Meyer (Plaintiff’s witness) Eason Donner (Sacramento Actor)
Ryan Kendall (Plaintiff’s witness) Patrick Burns (LA – From Foster Care to Fabulous)
Dr. Gregory Herek (Plaintiff’s witness) Michael RJ Campbell (Sacramento Actor)
Dr. Gary Segura (Plaintiff’s witness) Nanci Zoppi (Sacramento Actress)
Dr. William Tam (Prop 8 proponent) Ben Phillips (running for SMUD board)
David Blanenhorn (Proponent’s witness) Steve Minnow (Sacramento Actor)
Evan Wolfson (Marriage Equality advocate) George Raya (Gay Rights Pioneer)

Maryland, USA: Performance of “8”, Marriage Equality Debate Monday Night in Silver Springs

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

BuzzFeed’s LGBT reporter Chris Geidner will moderate a panel discussion on same-sex marriage in Maryland on Monday. The discussion follows a reading of “8 at the Round House Theatre in Silver Spring, M.D.

“8 is a play chronicling the trial of the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which denied same-sex couples the right to marry. The play was written by Dustin Lance Black, who also wrote authored 2008s Milk.

Making up the panel are reps from gay rights organizations Equality Maryland and Marylanders for Marriage Equality.

Authored By Eddie Scarry – See the Full Story at Media Bistro

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Maryland.

California, USA: Prop 8 Play “8” Reaches One Year

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Today marks one year since “8” had its premiere on Broadway. In that time, Dustin Lance Black’s 90-minute play using the court testimony of the Prop. 8 trial has accomplished so much:

–295 total readings confirmed in 45 states plus the District of Columbia, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Scotland, England and Zimbabwe.

–108 performances have been performed to date.

–Staged readings have taken place on Broadway, at the nation’s most prestigious theaters and summer festivals, high schools, colleges, and local community theaters.

–Before the November election, 37 readings will take place in states where marriage is on the ballot: Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.

See the Full Story at AFER

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in California.

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