Star-studded cast presents Proposition 8 play premiere
Martin Sheen commanded the stage with his impassioned portrayal of an attorney arguing for gay-marriage rights; Jane Lynch inspired instant response as a vehement samesex-marriage opponent; Brad Pitt dazzled as a judge.
It was all part of the star-studded West Coast premiere of “8,” a play about the 2010 federal court fight against Proposition 8, the gay-marriage ban that California voters approved in 2008.
The performance Saturday at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles also featured George Clooney, Kevin Bacon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christine Lahti, George Takei, John C. Reilly, Chris Colfer, Matthew Morrison and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
The play by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black made its Broadway debut last year in similar starry fashion. Saturday’s benefit performance was broadcast live on Youtube, where director Rob Reiner said it drew 200,000 viewers. He hopes it attracts more than a million before its weeklong online run ends. The play also will be staged around the country with local actors at colleges and community theaters.
“We want as many people as possible to see what happened inside that courtroom,” said Mr. Reiner, a founding member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which is funding the federal fight for marriage equality.
Relying largely on transcripts from court proceedings, “8” introduces viewers to the couples who challenged the California initiative, the attorneys who argued their case and a bumbling witness who spoke out against them.