Cape Gazette
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Staged reading of the play '8' set in Rehoboth April 6

Performance to benefit Equality Delaware
Apr 03, 2013
Photo by: Steven Billups On March 30, actors met at the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center to rehearse thee play “8.” Shown is Eric Peterson, right, rehearsing the role of attorney Ted Olsen. CAMP Rehoboth Executive Director Steve Elkins, left, portrays the judge in the case. There will be one performance only staged reading of the play Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m. at Epworth Methodist Church in Rehoboth.

Equality Delaware, with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights and Broadway Impact, has announced a one-night-only reading of "8," a play chronicling the historic trial challenging California's Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry.

The one-night only performance Saturday, April 6, directed by Fay Jacobs, features 21 characters from the actual trial and will include professional actors, attorneys, and well-known local residents. The staged reading will take place at 8 p.m. at Epworth Methodist Church on Holland Glade Road in Rehoboth Beach.

The show is written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and AFER founding board member Dustin Lance Black. The show is particularly timely now, with the Prop 8 and DOMA cases before the Supreme Court.

Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning feature film "Milk" and the film "J. Edgar," based 8 on the actual words of the trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.

Actors include CAMP Rehoboth Executive Director Steve Elkins, Equality Delaware attorney Mark Purpura, professional actors Eric Peterson, Stacey Fearheiley, Karen Murdock and Eloise Ullman, plus local notables such as Glen Pruitt, Mark Ladd, Steve Haber, Howard Menaker, and more.

"8" had its much-heralded Broadway world premiere in 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. Proceeds from the Rehoboth Beach production will benefit Equality Delaware in its fight for marriage equality in the state.

"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 Black. "The goal of '8' is to show the world that marriage equality is a basic constitutional right."

"I am thrilled to have been asked to put this production together," said Jacobs. "Not only is it a topic of incredible relevance and importance right now, but the play itself is actually somewhat humorous, very endearing, often infuriating, and ultimately a really satisfying drama."

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased through Equality Delaware or at the door on the night of the production.

Stacey Fearheiley, last seen in Rehoboth starring as Molly Ivins in “Red Hot Patriot,” takes the conservative position in “8” as she plays the fiery Maggie Gallagher, supporting traditional marriage. The play, written by Dustin Lance Black who wrote the film “Milk,” has been having readings across the U.S. to raise funds for the fight for marriage equality. (Photo by: Steven Billups)
The plaintiffs in the case are played by (l-r) Eloise Ullman; Karen Murdock; James "Fitz" Fitzsimmons, who stage-managed the original New York production of the play; and Alex Boyar. The real plaintiffs were at the Supreme Court March 26 to hear the case before the justices, making this production extremely timely. (Photo by: Steven Billups)
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