Brad Pitt and George Clooney led a star-studded cast for the one-night benefit performance of the gay marriage play, 8.
The performance was held at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre and boasted a 20-member cast including Kevin Bacon, Martin Sheen, John C. Reilly, Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Jamie Lee Curtis, George Takei and Matthew Bomer. The audience also included stars and Hollywood power players such as Barbra Streisand, Disney Chairman Rich Ross, Theodore B. Olson (Sheen), director Brett Ratner, designer Diane Von Furstenberg, Clooney's girlfriend, Stacy Keibler and Creative Artists Agency's Kevin Huvane, who represents Clooney and Pitt.
In the play, Pitt plays a judge and Clooney plays a lawyer reenacting the Perry vs. Schwarzenegger case in 2010, which challenged Proposition 8, the ballot measure banning same-sex marriage in California. The script was based on the transcripts from the court case.
Written by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black, the play focuses on couples Sandy Stier (Curtis) and Kris Perry (Lahti), and Jeff Zarillo (Matt Bomer) and Paul Katami (Morrison). One of the couples wants to start a family, the other has two children and a witness that is in favor of the same sex marriage ban testifies under oath that marriage equality was best for couples, kids and the country. Martin Sheen who portrayed attorney Theodore B. Olson received a huge applause in a scene where he delivered a passionate speech.
I knew that Martin Sheen was going to get a huge ovation after that speech because we applauded for him in rehearsal, Ferguson said. John C. Reilly did a brilliant job with his role but I loved seeing Jane Lynch play such a villainous, homophobic creature. It really felt like she was sticking it to the man.
The play benefited the American Foundation for Equal Rights, the nonprofit group that spearheaded the court case against Proposition 8. Viewers were able to watch the performance streamed live on Youtube and the theater was packed to near capacity. Director Rob Reiner, who serves on the American Foundation for Equal Rights, said the performance drew around 200,000 viewers on Youtube.
We want as many people as possible to see what happened inside that courtroom, Reiner said.