Media Release: Three Tulsa Theatres Announce Collaborative Production of Dustin Lance Black’s New Play “8”

Theatre Tulsa’s New Stage, in Collaboration with Odeum and Theatre POPS, Joins Nationwide Productions of Landmark Marriage Equality Play

TULSA, Okla. (March. 25, 2012) – Theatre Tulsa’s New Stage, with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, is proud to announce a one-weekend-only reading of “8,” a play chronicling the historic trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8.

The script was written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning feature film “Milk” and the film “J. Edgar”. Black’s “8” 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.

The production and casts will combine the talents of three local theatres, Theatre Tulsa’s New Stage company, Odeum Theatre Company and Theatre Pops.

The production will run one weekend, April 25-27, at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center’s Liddy Doenges Theatre. All performances are at 7:30 p.m.

“This production is exactly why we have community theatres,” said Sara Phoenix, president of Theatre Tulsa. “This is an issue that has created national debate over the past several years, and we are using storytelling to have a dialogue about it on a local, personal level.”

Each performance will also have an interactive talkback session between the actors and audience members, featuring additional perspectives from members of the local law and religious communities.

Profits from the production will be donated to Oklahomans For Equality and the American Foundation For Equal Rights.

“8” had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere on September 19, 2011, at the sold-out Eugene O’Neill Theatre in New York City. The production brought in over $1 million to support AFER’s efforts to achieve full federal marriage equality.

“8” had its West Coast premiere reading at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on Saturday, March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles. The West Coast premiere reading of “8” featured an all-star cast led by Golden Globe Award-winner and Academy and Emmy Award-nominee Brad Pitt as United States District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker; and Academy and Golden Globe Award-winner and Emmy Award-nominee George Clooney and Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winner Martin Sheen as Plaintiffs’ lead co-counsel David Boies and Theodore B. Olson. The benefit reading was directed by AFER Founding Board Member Rob Reiner, and raised more than $2 million for the fight to secure full federal marriage equality.

“People need to witness what happened in the Proposition 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. AFER and Broadway Impact are doing all we can to help speed that process along.”

“8” is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Hollingsworth v. Perry), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry.

The story for “8” is framed by the trial’s historic closing arguments in June 2010, and features the best arguments and testimony from both sides.

On February 7, 2012, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a landmark decision upholding the historic August 2010 ruling of the Federal District Court that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Arguments before the court will begin March 26.

This production of “8” also marks the launch of Theatre Tulsa’s New Stage – a company designed to produce new and challenging community theatre as a supplement to Theatre Tulsa’s regular season of mainstage shows. Theatre Tulsa’s New Stage will produce at least one additional work per season, beginning in the upcoming 2013-2014 season.

To purchase tickets, visit the Tulsa PAC website at myticketoffice.com

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About Theatre Tulsa
Theatre Tulsa is the longest continuously-operating community theatre west of the Mississippi River, and the seventh oldest in the United States. The historic community theatre has also been responsible for bringing hundreds of productions to Tulsans. It premiered the first-ever community theatre productions of “Our Town” (1939), “All My Sons” (1947), the musical “Brownstone” (1985), “Miracle on 34th Street: A Musical Adaptation” (1993 – an original musical written for Theatre Tulsa), “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (2003) and the first American community theatre production of “Pitmen Painters” (2011).

Website: www.theatretulsa.org

About Odeum Theatre Company
In the last 3 seasons, Odeum Theatre Company has produced quality theatre productions that exhibit the superb talents of some of Tulsa’s finest performing artists, while also reaching out to produce new works for the community.

Website: www.odeumtheatrecompany.com

About Theatre Pops
Theatre Pops is a non-profit performance group that has been bringing great plays to Tulsa since 1993. In recent years, Theatre Pops has gained recognition for one-night-only performances of contemporary monologues during SummerStage, in an evening called Tinkerbell. Theatre Pops focuses on well-written shows that tell interesting stories.

Website: www.theatrepops.org

About the American Foundation for Equal Rights
The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced the Perry case through Federal District Court and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality for all Americans.

Website: www.AFER.org

About Broadway Impact
Broadway Impact is the only grassroots organization of the theatre community and its fans mobilized in support of marriage equality. Tony Award-nominees Rory O’Malley (The Book of Mormon) and Gavin Creel (HAIR) and Production Coordinator Jenny Kanelos founded the organization in direct response to the passage of California’s Proposition 8 in November 2008. Currently, Broadway Impact, in partnership with AFER, licenses and coordinates readings of Dustin Lance Black’s “8″ at regional, community and university theaters around the world. Broadway Impact was the recipient of the 2009 Human Rights Campaign Community Award and proudly operates under the fiscal sponsorship of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Website: www.broadwayimpact.com

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