A one-night-only staged reading of 8, the powerful play about the federal court trial contesting the Proposition 8 voter ban in 2008 on same sex marriage in California, will have its New Jersey premiere at Montclair State University on Saturday, March 24, at 7:30 p.m. at Memorial Auditorium. 8 was first performed in New York City last September and premiered in Los Angeles earlier this month in a star-studded production that included George Clooney and Brad Pitt.
Headlining the New Jersey cast are television actor Roscoe Orman (Gordon from Sesame Street) as Ted Olson, co-counsel for the four plaintiffs; Broadway actor Jamie LaVerdiere (The Producers, The Pirate Queen) as David Boies, co-counsel for the plaintiffs; and Broadway actress Rachel de Benedet, Astaire Award-nominee (Catch Me If You Can), who portrays plaintiff Kris Perry.
Montclair State University President Susan A. Cole will read the part of Judge Vaughn Walker who ruled in 2010 that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional. His decision was upheld last month by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard an appeal filed by opponents of gay marriage.
Jeff Zarrillo, one of the four plaintiffs in the Proposition 8 trial and a Montclair State graduate, will return to campus to participate in a question-and-answer panel discussion after the performance, moderated by two-time Tony Award-nominee Gavin Creel.
Written by Academy Award-winning Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, the play is based on the trial transcript, first-hand observations of the courtroom proceedings, and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.
The staging of 8 is presented in conjunction with the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, which are licensing 8 to colleges and community theatres nationwide.
Tickets can be reserved in advance at http://msu8theplay.eventsbot.com/ and the night of the performance on a first come, first served basis at the Memorial Auditorium box office.
Producers—Patrick King, a senior majoring in theatre production design at Montclair State University, and the University’s Office of Equity and Diversity; Director—Michael Allen; Projection Designer—Steve McCarthy; Lighting Designer—Benjamin Lawrence; and Production Stage Manager—Lauren Pennington. King, Lawrence, and Pennington are students at Montclair State; Allen and McCarthy are faculty members.
Read a Q&A with Jeff Zarrillo '95 at: Jeff Zarrillo Returns to Campus for 8 Premiere.