Ohio Wesleyan University Announces Reading Of Dustin Lance Black’s New Play ‘8’

Ohio Wesleyan Joins Nationwide Productions of Landmark Marriage Equality Play by Academy Award-Winning Screenwriter of ‘Milk’ & ‘J. Edgar’

DELAWARE, OHIO – Ohio Wesleyan University, through its Spectrum Resource Center and Department of Theatre & Dance, is proud to announce a one-night-only reading of “8,” a play chronicling the historic trial in the federal constitutional challenge to California’s Proposition 8. The play was written by Dustin Lance Black, Academy Award-winning screenwriter and founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER).

The play examines the Federal District Court trial of Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which eliminated the rights of gay and lesbian California residents to get married. Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning feature film “Milk” and the film “J. Edgar,” based “8” on trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom proceedings, and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families.

“8” will be performed at 8 p.m. Sept. 15 on the Main Stage of Chappelear Drama Center, 45 Rowland Ave., on the Ohio Wesleyan campus. Admission is free, but reservations are required. To reserve a ticket, call (614) 271-5324 or email 8theplayOWU@gmail.com. A discussion on marriage equality will follow, and contributions will be accepted for AFER.

The production will feature Ohio Wesleyan Chaplain Jon Powers as U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, OWU chemistry professor Dan Vogt as marriage equality advocate Evan Wolfson, and a full cast of OWU students. The production is directed by senior Leah Shaeffer of Columbus, Ohio.

“8” had its sold-out Broadway world premiere on Sept. 19, 2011, at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre in New York City. It had its West Coast premiere at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles, and featured an all-star cast including Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and Martin Sheen.

“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,” Black said. “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.”

Throughout 2012, AFER and Broadway Impact are licensing “8” for free to colleges and community theaters nationwide to promote action, dialogue, and understanding.

“Our state’s same-sex marriage ban is one of the most rigid in the country,” said OWU sophomore Ryan Haddad of Cleveland, Ohio, who is producing “8” at Ohio Wesleyan and appearing in the role of David Blankenhorn, the sole witness opposing marriage equality. “The arts often serve as the best vehicle to engage people about important issues, so by performing this play, we are helping to give voices to the many Ohioans who are currently denied the right to marry.”

On Feb. 7, 2012, the U.S. 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 Ninth Circuit concluded: “Proposition 8 serves no purpose, and has no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California, and to officially reclassify their relationships and families as inferior to those of opposite-sex couples. The Constitution simply does not allow for laws of this sort.”

Follow Ohio Wesleyan’s production of “8”on Twitter at https://twitter.com/8thePlayOWU, on Facebook on its event page or on Tumblr at http://8theplayOWU.tumblr.com. Visit the production website at www.8theplay.com/ohio-wesleyan-university. And view images and more from the OWU production on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/8theplayOWU or Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/8theplayowu.



Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, Chaplain Jon Powers
Theodore B. Olson (Plaintiffs’ attorney), Ian Boyle
David Boies (Plaintiffs’ attorney), Nick Ehlers
Charles J. Cooper (Proponents’ attorney), Andrew Rossi
Jeff Zarrillo (Plaintiff), Jordan Ahmed
Paul Katami (Plaintiff), Macauley O’Connor
Sandy Stier (Plaintiff), April Warner
Kris Perry (Plaintiff), Claire Hackett
Elliott (Kris & Sandy’s son), Rachel Vinciguerra
Spencer (Kris & Sandy’s son), Kristen Krak
Dr. Nancy Cott (Plaintiffs’ witness), Kati Sweigard
Maggie Gallagher (Marriage equality opponent), Grace Thompson
Dr. Ilan Meyer (Plaintiffs’ witness), Dave Winnyk
Ryan Kendall (Plaintiffs’ witness), Anthony Lamoreux
Dr. Gregory Herek (Plaintiffs’ witness), Brian Brockman
Dr. Gary Segura (Plaintiffs’ witness), Gus Wood
Dr. William Tam (Prop. 8 proponent), Kyle Simon
David Blankenhorn (Proponents’ witness), Ryan Haddad
Evan Wolfson (Marriage equality advocate), Professor Dan Vogt, Ph.D.
Clerk, Megan Pinto
Broadcast Journalist, Jackie Amanna


The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of Perry v. Brown, 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 Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality for all Americans.

Broadway Impact is a grassroots organization of the theatre community and its fans mobilized in support of marriage equality. In direct response to the passage of California’s Proposition 8 in November 2008, Tony Award-nominees Rory O’Malley (The Book of Mormon) and Gavin Creel (HAIR) and Production Coordinator Jenny Kanelos founded Broadway Impact to engage the theatre community in the fight for marriage equality. Broadway Impact was the recipient of the 2009 Human Rights Campaign Community Award and proudly operates under the entity of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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