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8 – A Great Cast For A Great Cause


Please welcome Catherine, a P8TT reader, for a guest post with her review of “8”, the play about the Prop 8 trial that premiered on Broadway this week -Adam

By Catherine E. Bell

During my allotted time on Twitter not too long ago, one of my friends retweeted a notice that Matt Bomer had become involved in the staged reading of Dustin Lance Black’s play, 8. I hadn’t heard of the project, so I followed the link and found, even after staggering at the ticket prices, that I had to go see and support it.

The play itself was powerful and engaging, though a bit uneven. There were great moments of poignancy and drama, including star turns by Jayne Houdyshell as a true-to-life, despicable Maggie Gallagher, Christine Lahti as Kris Perry, Ellen Barkin as Sandy Stiers, Bob Balaban as Judge Walker and Morgan Freeman as the quietly deadly David Boies. Bradley Whitford gave a very brave performance as defense attorney Charles Cooper. His “I…don’t…know….” was executed with exquisite, risky timing and elicited the deepest belly laugh of the night.

Highest kudos, though, to Rob Reiner as the hilariously maddening David Blankenhorn and John Lithgow – actor of the night – as plaintiff’s attorney Theodore B. Olson. Bomer told me afterwards that he would have killed for Lithgow’s monologue (Olson’s closing speech), so perfectly delivered at the end of the play. I hope that people will have the opportunity to see this performance as the cameras recorded it.

There were also missed opportunities. From a dramatic perspective, I wanted to see more of Jeff Zarillo (Bomer) and Paul Katami (Cheyenne Jackson). The family moments shown between Kris and Sandy and their sons were poignant and necessary. A similar fleshing out of Paul and Jeff would have given the piece balance and advanced the arguments in both the play and the trial. It would also have further grounded the play’s very effective use of the awful ads that helped sway the Prop 8 vote in the wrong direction.

To Black’s great credit, the consensus from trial witnesses M.V. Lee Badgett and Dr. Ilan Meyer was that he had struck a decent balance between disseminating key elements of the trial and the dramatic affect needed to hook an audience. This is not easy to do. Television dramas notwithstanding, real trials don’t always read well on stage. Some license must be taken to bring them home to audiences of stage and screen, even when the words themselves are epic and brilliant. Badgett and her wife, a lawyer, confirmed that Olson’s speech was not originally delivered with the passion Lithgow gave it.

One of the most striking things about the night was the generosity flowing in so many forms. From the actors who donated their time, sitting on the stage throughout the 100 minute show for a few minutes of dialogue, to the people who ponied up big money for sponsorship and tickets, to those who were so kind to this outsider, to the reluctant celebrities who were made so by the trial, I was pleasantly stunned. Nobody outside the trial had to do any of this, but it was a fantastic thing to see. I loved my conversations with the actors, but my abiding memories will be of meeting and talking with those directly involved in the trial.

The question asked by nearly everyone who spoke to me was, “How are you connected to this?” My answer to them: “I can’t turn my back on my family, friends, colleagues and students.” The deeper truth: Inequality is deeply painful, especially when forced with prejudice upon those we love.

8, as play, experience and event, spoke to that. I just hope that more people out there are listening.


  • 1. Ronnie  |  September 22, 2011 at 7:59 am

    "Bradley Whitford gave a very brave performance as defense attorney Charles Cooper. His “I…don’t…know….” was executed with exquisite, risky timing and elicited the first belly laugh of the night."…………..ROFL, I love it….. Awesome review Catherine, thank you…….. subscribing & sharing…….

    TIME Magazine's 'Officer X' Come Out of the Closet

    "For the past few months a service member has been blogging at TIME about the repeal of 'DADT' and today he came out of the closet as 1st Lt. Karl Johnson"

    Trans American Military Stories
    Nearly 300,000 transgender people may have served in the military — even though the government won’t officially allow it. Here are their stories.

    Rachel Maddow Celebrates the End of 'DADT' with Service Members: VIDEO

    & "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Ban on Gay & Lesbians in the US Military is Lifted (Democracy Now!): VIDEO….. <3…Ronnie:
    [youtube W0tNyYGUtuI youtube]

  • 2. Catherine E. Bell  |  September 22, 2011 at 8:12 am

    You're welcome! Thank you very much for your kind words. 🙂

  • 3. Ann S.  |  September 22, 2011 at 8:25 am

    Thanks, Catherine!

  • 4. Catherine E. Bell  |  September 22, 2011 at 8:31 am

    You're very welcome! 🙂

  • 5. Gregory in SLC  |  September 22, 2011 at 9:31 am

    : D !

  • 6. Catherine E. Bell  |  September 22, 2011 at 9:34 am


  • 7. MichGuy  |  September 22, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Gay history made: Military recruiters visit Tulsa Equality Center to attempt to recurit militray applicants

  • 8. FlexSF  |  September 22, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Maine gay marriage documentary being aired in Minnesota.

  • 9. MichGuy  |  September 22, 2011 at 8:59 am

    Judge allows suit over annual photo to proceed:

    JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi federal judge has refused to dismiss a lawsuit brought by gay teenager Ceara Sturgis over the Copiah County School Districts refusal to include a picture of her in a tuxedo in the high school yearbook's senior section.

    U.S. District Court denied the dismissal motion filed by the school system.

    Sturgis has said she likes to wear masculine clothes and that's why she donned a tuxedo instead of a drape to appear in the 2010 Wesson Attendance Center yearbook.

  • 10. Gregory in SLC  |  September 22, 2011 at 9:45 am

    Appreciate the update on this case..hope it goes "all the way"! This is a reminder how ridiculous some of these conservatives can be…they would prefer Sturgis wear a skimpy (potentially immodest) dress over a very modest tuxedo.

  • 11. Ronnie  |  September 22, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Meet Keith Heimann & Tom Davidson, the 6th couple involved in the lawsuit to bring FULL Marriage Equality to New Jersey. Keith & Tom have been together for 24years & have 2daughters. Tom & the girls were thrown off of Keith's health care plan because state auditors would not recognize their civil union & they went without health insurance for months. This is one of the reasons why they fight for FULL Marriage Equality…… <3…Ronnie:
    [youtube VRofPMD_30o youtube]

  • 12. Kathleen  |  September 22, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Wonderful review, Catherine, and thank you for sharing it here at P8TT.

  • 13. Catherine E. Bell  |  September 22, 2011 at 9:42 am

    You're very welcome! Thank you so much for your kind and welcoming words. 🙂

  • 14. AnonyGrl  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Absolutely seconded. Thanks for the review, and I am SO jealous that you got to attend!!

  • 15. Catherine E. Bell  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Aww, thank you! I'm just sorry that you couldn't go.

  • 16. nightshayde  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Thank you for sharing your review, Catherine!

    Each of us here fights for equality in his/her own way & for our own reasons. As a straight ally, I fight for equality because seeing my GLBT friends, family and co-workers being discriminated against breaks my heart. I have straight friends with gay kids. Straight friends with gay parents. Gay friends with supportive families. Gay family members who have been treated horribly by the people who should have always been there to love them and care for them. As I've mentioned before here, I don't know yet whether my daughter is straight or gay or somewhere in between — but I will love her and fight for her rights & her friends' rights no matter what.

    I'm trying to do my part to help in a few ways. First, I discuss marriage equality and the importance of fighting discrimination with anyone who will listen — and I'm teaching my daughter that nobody should have rights denied because of who he or she loves. Second, I've got my little silk bouquet project — I will be distributing hand-made bouquets to complete strangers when the marriages resume in California.

    This Saturday, I'm participating in EQCA's Swim for Equality — swimming 1.7 miles in open (cold … really really cold) water off the coast of Malibu, CA to raise money to fight discrimination and to promote equality. Some of you have already visited my fundraising page & have made donations — THANK YOU. In case anyone else would like to make a donation, I'd really appreciate it. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to meet my fundraising goal — but I've still raised over $1200 for the cause. I'm proud of myself and of all the people who have helped me get as far as I've gotten. Every little bit helps!

    If you're so inclined, please visit my page and make a small donation (or a large one — I certainly won't say no to large donations) — and please share the link with anyone else you think might be willing to toss a few dollars to the cause. Thank you in advance for your help!

  • 17. Catherine E. Bell  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Thank you very much for your kind words. Best of luck with your swim! I hope that you raise lots of money for EQCA. I have donated.

  • 18. nightshayde  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:40 am

    Thank you! I'm working all the forums/blogs on which I'm a regular poster now (even if I should be doing actual work while I'm at work).

    Heck – gotta go work the bosses here, too.

  • 19. Alan_Eckert  |  September 22, 2011 at 10:54 am

    I really wish I could have seen that, especially Lithgow. I got to see Olsen give his closing speech at the District court, and he was just amazing. We gave him a standing ovation in our overflow room. Thanks for letting us live vicariously through you!

  • 20. Don in Texas  |  September 22, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Now that Judge Ware has ordered release of the actual trial video recordings (delayed until Sept. 30th) perhaps all of us can see the actual event sometime in the near future!

    Excellent review, Catherine. Thank you for sharing.

  • 21. Catherine E. Bell  |  September 22, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I share your hope! The play is a powerful encapsulation, but to have the real faces and voices in front of us would be immeasurably valuable.

    You're very welcome for the review. Thank you for reading it and sharing your thoughts.

  • 22. jpmassar  |  September 22, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    The case will almost certainly be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, and the tapes won't be released until SCOTUS decides the issue (because if they were released before that, the right to appeal would be meaningless). So if by near future you mean 'in two or three years', then, yeah!

  • 23. peterplumber  |  September 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    The proponants just filed their appeal.

  • 24. Kathleen  |  September 22, 2011 at 11:54 am

    JMG reports AP tweeting Maggie Gallagher out at NOM, replaced by homophobe-extraordinaire John Eastman

  • 25. Catherine E. Bell  |  September 22, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    I saw that news on Twitter. It's hard to cheer the irony and timing of her ouster when the replacement is so toxic.

  • 26. Sagesse  |  September 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I'm at work and can't check. Wasn't John Eastman on the board anyway? If so, more of a 'rearranging the desk chairs'. If he is new blood, that's not so good.

    He also give NOM public speaking, expert witness credentials (as in he actually has some) that neither Maggie nor Brian have.

  • 27. Ann S.  |  September 22, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    I think he's new. They haven't yet edited his Wikipedia page to reflect the new position, and it shows no affiliation with NOM.

    ETA: last year when he ran for AG a donation was made by NOM, but no note was made here of any affiliation:

  • 28. Ann S.  |  September 22, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    New, but not new. Good As You on their past ties:

  • 29. Kathleen  |  September 22, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    NOM's press release:

    Eastman become Board Chair, but MG still on board

  • 30. Reformed  |  September 22, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    Has NOM given barefoot snack wrapper crackling AFER supporter Maggie G. the Boot?

  • 31. MichGuy  |  September 22, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    ACLU Appears in Federal Court to Challenge Military Separation Pay Policy that Discriminates Against Lesbian and Gay Veterans

    WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union argued before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims today that a Defense Department policy that cuts in half the separation pay of service members who have been honorably discharged for being gay is discriminatory and unconstitutional. The ACLU filed a class action lawsuit against the policy, which is not part of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" statute and so was not changed when that law was repealed. The Defense Department can change the [this] policy on its own, without congressional approval.

  • 32. Reformed  |  September 22, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    When it is unavoidable that I travel through Georgia, I will fuel up at the previous state line and close my wallet to any expenditures whatsoever. I will not purchase anything or use any service that contributes to the state of Georgia, due to the execution of Troy Davis.

    sent to
    [email protected],org

  • 33. peterplumber  |  September 22, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Docket Text:
    NOTICE OF APPEAL as to [812] Order by Martin F. Gutierrez, Dennis Hollingsworth, Mark A. Jansson, Gail J. Knight, – Yes on 8, A Project of California Renewal. Filing fee $ 455, Receipt Number 34611064971. (far, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 9/22/2011)

  • 34. Ann S.  |  September 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Is this the appeal of Judge Ware's order unsealing the video recordings?

  • 35. Kathleen  |  September 22, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    It's just the official notice of the Appeal of Ware's order unsealing the recordings. And for all of you who get the notices, but aren't sure what they all are, the other two of essentially duplicates – notices going out various places with copies of the dockets, etc.

    I'll get this uploaded in a minute for people to look at.

  • 36. peterplumber  |  September 22, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Yes. I wanted to post a clip or two from it, but even tho it is in PDF format, I could not run OCR on it. I had to do some finagling, but I have the OCR running now.

  • 37. peterplumber  |  September 22, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Same-sex couples ("Plaintiffs") challenged the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8,
    which provides that "[olnly marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in
    California," Cal. Const. art. I, 8 7.5. Official proponents ("Proponents") of the ballot measure
    intervened to defend it. When Chief Judge Walker ordered the proceedings to be broadcast in
    violation of local rule, the Supreme Court granted Proponents' application to stay that decision.
    Chief Judge Walker then ordered videorecordings of the proceedings to be made with the
    understanding that they would not be broadcast to the public, and he placed the recordings in the
    record under seal. Plaintiffs subsequentlymoved to lift the seal, and Chief Judge Ware granted
    the motion. Proponents now appeal that order.

  • 38. Ann S.  |  September 22, 2011 at 4:16 pm


  • 39. Kathleen  |  September 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    UPDATE: Perry v. Brown (Prop 8)

    Notice of Appeal of District Court order unsealing trial recordings

    As soon as it's docketed at the 9th Circuit, I'll report a case number.

  • 40. Kathleen  |  September 22, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    UPDATE: Mass DOMA cases

    DOJ files superseding opening brief. The DOJ filed a motion to withdraw its opening brief in these cases. That motion was denied, but the Court gave permission for the gov to file a "superseding" brief. Here 'tis:

  • 41. the Progress Report ̷&hellip  |  September 23, 2011 at 11:06 am

    […] Broadway’s production of “8″ about the Proposition 8 trial lent a great cast to a great cause. […]

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