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George Clooney has signed to star in the West Coast premiere of 8, a stage play chronicling the historic federal court trial overturning Proposition 8, the ballot measure that denied gay and lesbian Californians the right to marry.
The production — directed by Rob Reiner and written by Dustin Lance Black — will run one night only at Los Angeles’ Wilshire Ebell Theatre on March 3. Proceeds will benefit the American Foundation for Equal Rights in its national fight for marriage equality.
“It is astonishing that gay and lesbian Americans are still treated as second-class citizens,” Clooney said. “I am confident that, very soon, the laws of this nation will reflect the basic truth that gay and lesbian people — like all human beings — are born equal in dignity and rights.”
Opponents of Proposition 8 have called on the court to unseal the video of the federal trial for the public to see. A ruling is expected soon. In the meantime, the limited showing of 8 will have to suffice.
“People need to witness what happened in the Proposition 8 trial,” says Black, the Oscar-winning writer of the Harvey Milk biopic Milk as well as this year’s J. Edgar, “if for no other reason than to see inequality and discrimination unequivocally rejected in a court of law where truth and facts matter.”
The move west follows a successful performance of the play in New York in September featuring a cast including Morgan Freeman, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow and Bradley Whitford. In the L.A. version, Clooney will be joined by another all-star cast who will play the roles of the legal teams, plaintiffs and witnesses for both sides of the case, which is now on appeal. Additional cast members will be announced soon.
“This play will continue to show Americans — one by one — that prejudice and fear cannot stand up to truth and justice,” said AFER Board president Chad Griffin. “Our Constitution neither knows nor tolerates the treatment of gays and lesbians as second-class citizens.”
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