Tony winner Joe Mantello will direct the one-night-only world premiere of 8, chronicling the historic trial in the federal legal challenge to California’s Proposition 8 and presented by American Foundation for Equal Rights and Broadway Impact as a fundraiser for AFER. The play, written by Oscar winner and AFER founding board member Dustin Lance Black, will be performed on September 19, 2011 at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre. Casting for the piece has yet to be announced.
8 is an account of the Federal District Court trial of Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which eliminated the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples in California. It is based on the actual words of the trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.
Mantello has directed many high-profile musicals and plays, including Wicked, 9 to 5, Pal Joey, Three Days of Rain, Glengarry Glen Ross, Love! Valour! Compassion! and November. He won Tony Awards for his direction of Assassins and Take Me Out. He is also a Tony-nominated actor for his roles in The Normal Heart and the original production of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.
Black won an Academy Award for his original screenplay for Milk directed by Gus van Sant, who is set to direct Black’s upcoming film adaptation of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. His other screenwriting credits include Pedro, profiling the life of AIDS activist and reality television personality Pedro Zamora, A Life Like Mine, What’s Wrong With Virginia. He was a staff writer on HBO hit Big Love.
“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,” Black said in a statement. “I’ve built my career around exposing and uncovering ‘the real story’. The goal of ‘8’ is to show the world that marriage equality is a basic constitutional right and that those who would deny this basic freedom from loving, committed couples have only vitriol and baseless hyperbole to fall back on. The facts are on our side and truth always finds the light. We at AFER are doing all we can to help speed that process along.”