Tony nominee Rory O’Malley, Emmy-winning journalist Campbell Brown and Tony-winning playwright Larry Kramer will join Morgan Freeman, Marisa Tomei and more in the starry one-night-only reading of 8, the Prop 8-themed play by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black. Produced by the American Foundation for Equal Rights in partnership with Broadway Impact, the reading is set for September 19 at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, directed by Joe Mantello.
In addition to Freeman and Tomei, the previously announced cast of 8 includes Anthony Edwards, Cheyenne Jackson, Christine Lahti, Rob Reiner, Yeardley Smith, John Lithgow, Bradley Whitford and Matt Bomer.
The play follows the final days of the federal legal challenge to California's Proposition 8, which eliminated the right for gay and lesbian couples to marry in California. Black wrote 8 based on the actual trial transcripts and first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with plaintiffs and families. The show features arguments and testimony from both sides of the issue.
As previously announced, Whitford will play defense attorney Charles Cooper, while Bomer will play Jeff Zarillo, real-life husband of Paul Katami, played by Jackson. Zarillo and Katami were central litigants in the Prop 8 trial. Balaban will play US District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, who ruled over a year ago in California that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional. Freeman and Lithgow will play David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, the two attorneys appointed by AFER to lead the case filed to overturn Prop. 8. Lahti and Tomei will play the other plaintiffs, Sandi Stier and Kris Perry, a lesbian couple who have been together for 11 years and are the parents of four boys. Edwards, Kramer, O’Malley, Reiner and Smith will play witnesses in the trial, and Brown will play the role of the Broadcast Journalist. Additional casting for the all-star benefit will be announced soon.
O’Malley is a co-founder of Broadway Impact and a Tony nominee for his role in The Book of Mormon. Kramer’s ground-breaking play The Normal Heart won the 2011 Tony Award for Best Revival. His other plays include Sissies’ Scrapbook, Just Say No, The Destiny of Me and A Minor Dark Age; he is a co-founder of Gay Men’s Health Crisis and founder of ACT UP, the international network of activists responsible for the development/release of most HIV/AIDS treatments. Brown is an award-winning journalist who has covered stories around the globe for CNN and NBC News, and most recently hosted a primetime nightly news program on CNN.