Carnegie Mellon University
August 14, 2012

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon University Announces Reading of Dustin Lance Black's New Play "8" on Sept. 10

Joins Nationwide Productions of Landmark Marriage Equality Play By Academy Award-Winning Screenwriter of "Milk" and "J. Edgar"

Contact: Pam Wigley / 412-268-1047 /

8PITTSBURGH—Carnegie Mellon University's Office of Alumni Relations and the School of Drama, with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, 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 performance will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 10, in the University Center's McConomy Auditorium. Tickets are free; students may obtain two per person with a valid ID and the public may obtain one per person. Tickets must be picked up in advance at the University Center Information Desk.

The play, which will be read by drama students, was written by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and AFER Founding Board Member Dustin Lance Black."8" recounts the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which stripped gay and lesbian Californians of the fundamental freedom to marry. Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning "Milk" and "J. Edgar," based "8" on trial transcripts, first-hand observations and interviews with plaintiffs and their families.

The story for "8" is framed by the trial's historic closing arguments in June 2010, and features the arguments and testimony from both sides. 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."

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

Carnegie Mellon drama alumnus and Tony Award nominee Rory O'Malley (A'03), one of the original cast members of the Broadway sensation "The Book of Mormon," was instrumental in bringing the show to Pittsburgh through his affiliation with Broadway Impact, a grassroots organization dedicated to marriage equality.

"8" premiered on Broadway Sept. 19, 2011, at the sold-out Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City. The West Coast premiere reading was at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre on March 3, 2012, in Los Angeles, which featured an all-star cast led by Brad Pitt as U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, and George Clooney and Martin Sheen as plaintiffs' lead co-counsel David Boies and Theodore B. Olson.

"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, an AFER Founding Board Member.

For more information on the Carnegie Mellon performance, visit or contact Dan Barnett, director of Campus Programs in the Office of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving at 412-268-1209. For details on the project, follow "8"on Twitter: @8theplay or on Facebook.