"8" hits 200!

I am so excited to find out that "8" just booked its 200th reading, to be done in Fargo, North Dakota. When I originally wrote this play for Broadway Impact and The American Foundation for Equal Rights, I knew it would show in New York as a fundraiser, but I never imagined it would garner such an outstanding cast. When we worked out the details for a Los Angeles reading, I was blown away by the star power that signed up to stand with us and spread the message of equality worldwide, setting YouTube.com ablaze! Afterward, the decision to make this play royalty free for non-profits and schools was an easy one. Yes, we needed to raise funds to keep the case against Prop 8 healthy, but outreach and education are two of the most critical components of any civil rights fight. For the first time, opponents of marriage equality were made to step up to the witness stand and share their prejudices under penalty of perjury. Under such scrutiny, their fake science and discriminatory opinions fell apart. It became clearer than ever that what our opponents fear most is the truth, so much so that they successfully fought to ban the video tapes of this historic trial. Knowing now that so many people have and will be able to hear the actual words from this case is a testament to the truth's ability to always find the light.

In celebration of this news, I will be heading to Salinas, CA this Friday (where I attended high school), to participate in a reading of "8" at The Western Stage, where I cut my teeth in the theatre world as a teenager, include FLYING in a production of Peter Pan as John Darling. Then on August 4th I will be in Salt Lake City (home of my forefathers) for a reading of "8" with the Plan B Theater Company and an audience of LGBT folks and active, equality minded Mormons. I'm quite excited for the "talk-back" after this performance as I'll be sharing the stage with U.S. Congressman Barney Frank! I will be live-blogging as much as possible from both of these very personal productions.

Now none of this has happened by accident. I need to thank some folks who have made all the difference in getting this play into so many communities over the past year. Jenny Kanelos, Gavin Creel and the whole gang at Broadway Impact have worked tirelessly, providing the sweat, tears and real world theatrical knowledge to make this dream a reality. And thanks to Adam Umhoefer with AFER for putting in so much hard work to ensure everyone knows what's at stake and what the arguments were as this case makes its way to our country's highest court.

8Dustin Lance Black