NEW YORK, Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Today the American Foundation for Equal Rights, in partnership with Broadway Impact, announce the complete cast and roles for the highly anticipated one-night only staged reading of "8," a new play chronicling the historic trial in the federal legal challenge to California's Proposition 8. The play is written by AFER Founding Board Member and Academy Award-winning writer Dustin Lance Black and will be directed by two-time Tony Award-winning actor and director Joe Mantello.
Emmy and Tony Award winner and two-time Golden Globe Award nominee Ellen Barkin; Tony Award nominee Jayne Houdyshell; Broadway star Kate Shindle; and two-time Tony Award winner Stephen Spinella will appear in the world premiere of "8" on Broadway, joining the previously announced Bob Balaban, Matt Bomer, Campbell Brown, Anthony Edwards, Morgan Freeman, Cheyenne Jackson, Larry Kramer, Christine Lahti, John Lithgow, Rory O'Malley, Rob Reiner, Yeardley Smith and Bradley Whitford. The cast of "8" will also feature Tony Award nominee K. Todd Freeman, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Ken Leung and Ben Rosenfield. Marisa Tomei has had to withdraw from the reading due to a film scheduling conflict.
"8" is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Perry v. Brown), the case filed by AFER to overturn Proposition 8, which eliminated the right to marry for gay and lesbian couples in California. Black, who penned the Academy Award-winning feature film Milk, based "8" on the actual words of the trial transcripts, first-hand observations of the courtroom drama and interviews with the plaintiffs and their families. The new play will have its world premiere on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City on Monday, September 19, 2011 for an exclusive, one-night only fundraiser to benefit AFER.
Bob Balaban will play US District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker, who ruled over a year ago in California that Prop. 8 is unconstitutional. Morgan Freeman and John Lithgow will play David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, the two attorneys appointed by AFER to lead the case filed to overturn Prop. 8. Bradley Whitford will play Charles Cooper, the lead attorney for the defense, the proponents of Prop. 8. Matt Bomer and Cheyenne Jackson will play Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami, a gay couple of ten years and two of the four plaintiffs in the Prop. 8 trial; Ellen Barkin will play Sandy Stier and Christine Lahti will play Kris Perry – the other plaintiffs – a lesbian couple that have been together for eleven years and are the parents of four boys. Jay Armstong Johnson and Ben Rosenfield will play Spencer and Elliott, Sandy and Kris' twin sons.
Anthony Edwards, K. Todd Freeman, Larry Kramer, Ken Leung, Rory O'Malley, Rob Reiner, Yeardley Smith and Stephen Spinella will play witnesses in the trial: Anthony Edwards will play Dr. Ilan Meyer, a Columbia social psychologist and expert in the relationship between discrimination and mental health outcomes; K. Todd Freeman will play Dr. Gregory Herek, a Professor at U.C. Davis and a psychologist whose work focuses on the effect of social stigma on LGBT people; Larry Kramer will play Evan Wolfson, the Founder and President of Freedom to Marry, the national campaign to end marriage discrimination; Ken Leung will play Dr. William Tam, a proponent of Proposition 8 and a member of an evangelical Christian group who testified that he believes there is a connection between gay marriage and pedophilia, polygamy and incest; Rory O'Malley will play Ryan Kendall, a young gay man who was forced by his parents to undergo gay conversion therapy; Rob Reiner will play David Blankenhorn, Founder and President of the Institute for American Values and the principal witness for the opponents of marriage equality; Yeardley Smith will play Dr. Nancy Cott, a Harvard Professor who specializes in the history of marriage; Stephen Spinella will play Dr. Gary Segura, Professor of Political Science at Stanford and an expert on the subject of the political power or powerlessness of minority groups in the United States.
Campbell Brown will play the role of the Broadcast Journalist. Jayne Houdyshell will play Maggie Gallagher, president of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy and chairman and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage – both opposed to marriage equality – and a prominent opponent of marriage equality. Kate Shindle will play the Clerk.
Following the New York debut on September 19th, AFER and Broadway Impact will license "8" to schools and community organizations nationwide in order to spur action, dialogue and understanding. AFER and Broadway Impact will coordinate these staged readings across the country, so that "8" will live on beyond its September premiere.
The story for "8" is framed by the trial's historic closing arguments in June 2010, but features the best arguments and witness testimony presented by both legal teams. Scenes include reenactments of many of the well-documented jaw-dropping moments of trial, such as the admission by the Prop. 8 supporters' star witness David Blankenhorn that "we would be more American on the day we permitted same-sex marriage than we were on the day before."
AFER prevailed in federal district court when, based on the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, Chief Judge Walker concluded that California had no rational basis or vested interest in denying gays and lesbians marriage licenses and thus found Proposition 8 "unconstitutional" on August 4, 2010. It is currently under appeal by the anti-marriage proponents and is being expedited through the court system at a relatively rapid pace.
Unfortunately, the American public was not given a chance to witness the historic trial because the proponents of Proposition 8 launched a number of desperate attempts to forever hide the trial videotapes. Although the trial proceedings were open to the public, and all courtroom testimony and events were thoroughly documented, the trial video most vividly compares the weakness of the proponents' arguments to the well-reasoned, valid and constitutionally-based arguments and evidence put forth by AFER's renowned legal team, plaintiffs and expert witnesses.
The trial videotapes have been kept under seal due to a federal protective order. On August 29th, 2011, AFER's legal team made a strong case for the full and unedited release of the trial recordings at a hearing before Chief Judge Ware at US District Court. While a swift decision is expected from Chief Judge Ware, there is no guarantee that the trial footage will ever be available for the public to see. This is precisely the reason Black wrote "8."
Proceeds from the September 19th reading will go directly to the fight for full federal marriage equality and to support educational efforts on the freedom to marry nationwide.
For more information including how to buy tickets, visit: www.afer.org/broadway8
For information on how your local theater can produce "8," visit: www.BROADWAYIMPACT.com
BOB BALABAN (Chief Judge Vaughn Walker) recently received an Emmy nomination for directing Joan Allen and Jeremy Irons in Georgia O'Keeffe (Lifetime). He received three 2008 Emmy Award nominations, two for directing and producing the HBO film Bernard and Doris, starring Susan Sarandon and Ralph Fiennes, the third for his performance in Recount. Other directing credits include The Last Good Time (starring Armin Mueller-Stahl and Maureen Stapleton) and Parents (with Randy Quaid and Sandy Dennis). He produced and co-starred in the Academy and BAFTA award-winning film Gosford Park. His acting career spans nearly one hundred films including Howl, Capote, A Mighty Wind, Ghost World, Best in Show, Cradle Will Rock, Waiting for Guffman, Absence of Malice, Prince of the City, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Catch-22, Midnight Cowboy and the upcoming Moonrise Kingdom, directed by Wes Anderson. His theatre appearances include Plaza Suite, The Inspector General (Tony Award nomination), Speed the Plow, You're a Good Man Charlie Brown, Marie and Bruce and Some Americans Abroad. He directed and produced the original hit off-Broadway production of The Exonerated (Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, New York Times #1 Play, Fringe First Award at Edinburgh Fringe Festival) as well as the television version starring Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover. His bestselling series of children's books, McGrowl, sold over two million copies, and he is currently at work on another series of children's books for Viking/Penguin.
ELLEN BARKIN (Sandy Stier). Ellen Barkin's superb acting skills have enabled her to play roles ranging from an abusive single mother to a sultry femme fatale. Her versatility has made her a sought after and esteemed actress in the areas of theater, film and television. Barkin stars in the much-anticipated indie project, Another Happy Day, directed by Sam Levinson. The film – co-starring Kate Bosworth, Demi Moore, Ellen Burstyn, and Thomas Haden Church – recently premiered to rave reviews at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Other recent film credits include Cam Archer's Shit Year, which premiered to rave reviews at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival; Jean-Paul Salome's The Chameleon; and Gary Winick's Letters To Juliet for which Ellen went behind the camera one of the film's producers. Ellen Barkin has had an illustrious and diverse acting career comprised of over forty films that include, in no particular order, Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's 13; Todd Solondz' Palindromes; Antoine Fuqua's Brooklyn's Finest; Mitchell Lichtenstein's Happy Tears; Michael Caton-Jones' This Boy's Life opposite Robert De Niro and Leonardo Dicaprio; Spike Lee's She Hate Me; Tony Scott's The Fan opposite Robert De Niro; Walter Hill's Wild Bill opposite Jeff Bridges; Harold Becker's Sea Of Love opposite Al Pacino; Drop Dead Gorgeous; Terry Gilliam's Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas; Mike Newell's Into The West; Bob Rafelson's Man Trouble opposite Jack Nicholson; John Tururro's Mac; Jim Mcbride's The Big Easy opposite Dennis Quaid; Blake Edwards' Switch; Jim Jarmusch's Down By Law; Bruce Beresford's Tender Mercies; Eugene Corr's Desert Bloom; and Sydney Lumet's Daniel. Her first film and breakout performance was in Barry Levinson's Diner. Among the accolades she has received, Barkin garnered her first Golden Globe nomination for Best Actress for her performance in Blake Edward's Switch. She went on to receive a second Golden Globe nomination and the Emmy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Oprah Winfrey's "Before Women Had Wings." Barkin recently made her Broadway debut as Dr. Emma Brookner in The Normal Heart, for which she won the 2011 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
MATT BOMER (Jeff Zarrillo). Theatre: Ernest Hemingway in Villa America at Williamstown Theater Festival; Spring Awakening (Sundance Theatre Lab) - dir. Michael Mayer; Grey Gardens WS (Playwrights Horizons) - dir. Michael Grief; and the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors - dir. Rob Ashford. TV: Neal Caffrey on "White Collar," "Traveler," "Chuck," "Tru Calling," "Guiding Light." Film: Flightplan (dir. Robert Schwentke), The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (dir. Jonathan Liebesman), and upcoming In Time (dir. Andrew Niccol), and Magic Mike (dir. Steven Soderbergh).
CAMPBELL BROWN (Broadcast Journalist) is an award-winning journalist who has covered stories around the globe for CNN and NBC News. Most recently, Brown hosted the primetime nightly news program, "Campbell Brown for CNN." While at CNN, Brown won accolades for her political coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign. Brown was chosen to moderate and direct questions at two of the Presidential Debates during the 2008 election. Prior to CNN, Brown spent 11 years at NBC News where she served as White House Correspondent and primary substitute anchor for Brian Williams on "NBC Nightly News." Brown also hosted the weekend edition of "The Today Show," the nation's top-rated weekend news program. She has interviewed and profiled world political and business leaders, including the last three sitting Presidents. Brown lives in New York City with her husband and two sons.
ANTHONY EDWARDS (Dr. Ilan Meyer). Best known as Dr. Mark Greene on the hit series "ER," for which he received four Emmy nominations for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. Edwards won three Screen Actors Guild Awards (Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series in 1996 and Best Ensemble Cast in 1998 and 1999), and the Golden Globe Award in 1998. Edwards recently executive produced the HBO biopic "Temple Grandin," which won multiple Emmys and Golden Globes. Recent films include Motherhood with Uma Thurman, Flipped directed by Rob Reiner, and Zodiac directed by David Fincher. Other recent credits include Thunderbirds, the Polish brothers' Northfork, and Don't Go Breaking My Heart, which he executive produced in association with his production company. The company also produced the NBC telefilm "Borderline," starring Sherry Stringfeld. Edwards has starred in more than twenty features, including Goose in the blockbuster feature Top Gun. Other feature film credits include Playing by Heart, The Client, Miracle Mile, Mr. North, Hawks, Pet Semetary II, Delta Heat, Landslide, The Sure Thing, Gotcha, Revenge of the Nerds, Heart Like a Wheel and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Directorial debut: Charley's Ghost Story starring Cheech Marin and Linda Fiorentino. He has also directed several episodes of "ER." Other television credits include "Northern Exposure" and "It Takes Two," opposite Richard Crenna, Patty Duke, and Helen Hunt. Edwards is philanthropically involved with Shoe4Africa (shoe4africa.org), a charity that is building a children's hospital in Kenya.
K. TODD FREEMAN (Dr. Gregory Herek). A Steppenwolf Theatre Co. member since 1993, has appeared there in, The Brother/Sister Plays, The Tempest, Topdog/Underdog, A Clockwork Orange, Art and others. Broadway: One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The Song of Jacob Zulu (Tony nomination for Best Actor), Wicked (Chicago). Off-Broadway: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures, Spunk (Public), Uncle Tom's Cabin (Drama Dept.), Ubu (Lincoln Center). Regional: Miss Evers' Boys, Angels in America (Mark Taper Forum), Of Mice and Men, Glengarry Glen Ross (Alley Theatre). Television/film: "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "NYPD Blue," "A Different World," The Dark Knight, The Cider House Rules, Grosse Pointe Blank and many others.
MORGAN FREEMAN (David Boies) returns to Broadway in the staged reading of "8." In 1978, he won a Drama Desk Award for his role as Zeke in The Mighty Gents. He also received a Tony nomination for Best Performance by a Featured Actor. In 1987, Freeman received his second Drama Desk Nomination for the role of Holk Colburn which he created for the Alfred Uhry play Driving Miss Daisy and reprised in the 1989 movie of the same name. Other theatre credits include The Country Girl, The Niggerlovers, and Hello Dolly. Freeman won the Academy Award in 2005 for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Million Dollar Baby. In 1990 he won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance in Driving Miss Daisy. Freeman also received an Academy Award nomination in 1987 for Best Supporting Actor for Street Smart and in 1994 for Best Actor for The Shawshank Redemption. In 2010, he received an Academy Award nomination, a Golden Globe nomination and a Broadcast Critics Association nomination for his performance as Nelson Mandela in the acclaimed film Invictus, produced by his production company Revelations Entertainment. He won the National Board of Review award for Best Actor. Freeman's credits include The Dark Knight, The Bucket List, Glory, Clean and Sober, Lean on Me, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Unforgiven, Se7en, Kiss the Girls, Amistad and Deep Impact.
JAYNE HOUDYSHELL (Maggie Gallagher). Broadway: Follies, The Importance of Being Earnest, Bye Bye Birdie, Wicked, Well (Tony nomination, Theater World Award). Off-Broadway: Coraline, MCC (Lortel and Drama Desk nominations); The New Century, LCT; The Pain & The Itch, Playwrights Horizons; Well, Public Theater (Obie Award). Regional: Steppenwolf, MacCarter Theater, Yale Rep., Actors Theater of Louisville. Film: Everybody's Fine, Morning Glory, Trust the Man, Garden State. TV: "Law & Order," "Conviction," "Third Watch."
CHEYENNE JACKSON (Paul Katami) currently appears on NBC's "30 Rock," Fox's "Glee" and HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." He has also been seen in "Family Practice," "Life on Mars," "Lipstick Jungle," "Ugly Betty", "Law and Order" and "It Takes a Village." Jackson's film credits include Curiosity, Hysteria, Photo Op and the Academy Award-nominated film United 93. He'll next appear in the indie films Smile, The Green, and Price Check. He also recently wrapped production on Daryl Wein's Lola Versus. His first Broadway role was in All Shook Up, earning him the Theatre World Award. Jackson has also appeared in productions of Finian's Rainbow, Damn Yankees, Xanadu, The Agony & The Agony, Altar Boyz, Aida, Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Cartells, On the 20th Century and The 24 Hour Plays. Jackson is an ambassador for amfAR and serves as national ambassador for The Hetrick-Martin Institute.
JAY ARMSTRONG JOHNSON (Spencer) will be making his Off-Broadway debut this November in the MCC Theater play Wild Animals You Should Know. Other credits include: Broadway: Catch Me If You Can (Frank Abagnate Jr. Standby), Hair (Claude u/s), First National Tour: A Chorus Line (Mark). Regional Theatre: Pool Boy (Nick) World premiere Barrington Stage; Hairspray (Link) Weston Playhouse; Godspell (Jeffrey) Casa Manana. Workshops/Readings: 8 on Broadway (Spencer), Newsies (Jack), Tio Pepe (Jamie), Tales of the City (Mouse), Dogfight (Eddie Birdlace), Bring It On (Steven), Mrs. Sharp, Darling Concerts: Birdland, The Kennedy Center, Joe's Pub. Film: Sex & the City 2; TV: "Law & Order SVU," "The Apprentice." Jay is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Music degree from NYU Steinhardt.
LARRY KRAMER (Evan Wolfson). Kramer's groundbreaking play The Normal Heart was revived on Broadway this Spring, winning 2011 Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Drama League Awards for Best Revival. Co-founder, Gay Men's Health Crisis (world's first HIV/AIDS service organization). Founder, ACT UP (the international network of activists responsible for the development/release of most HIV/AIDS treatments). BA, Yale (1957). Film: Women in Love, producer and screenplay (Oscar nomination). Plays: Sissies' Scrapbook, The Normal Heart, Just Say No, The Destiny of Me, A Minor Dark Age. Non-fiction: Reports from the Holocaust: the making of an AIDS activist; The Tragedy of Today's Gays. Fiction: Faggots, The American People (forthcoming from Farrar Straus). Recipient: Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters; the first openly gay person to receive a Public Service Award from Common Cause. Kramer and his lover, architect/designer David Webster, live in New York and Connecticut.
CHRISTINE LAHTI (Kris Perry). Broadway: God of Carnage, The Heidi Chronicles, Loose Ends, Present Laughter, Scenes and Revelations, Division Street. Off-Broadway: Body of Water, Little Murders (Obie Award), Three Hotels (Drama Desk Nom), Landscape of the Body, The Woods (Theatre World Award). Regional: Love, Loss, and What I Wore; Third; A Moon for the Misbegotten; Summer and Smoke; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Film: Petunia, Touchback, Flying Lessons, Smart People, Yonkers Joe, Obsessed, Swing Shift (Academy Award nom, NY Film Critics Award, Golden Globe nom), Running on Empty (L.A. Film Critics Award, Golden Globe nom), The Doctor, Housekeeping, Just Between Friends, …And Justice for All, Whose Life Is it Anyway?, Gross Anatomy, Leaving Normal, Funny About Love. TV: "The Cleaner," ''Law & Order: SVU,'' ''The Closer,'' "Studio 60," "Ally McBeal," "Chicago Hope" (Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award), "Jack and Bobby" (Golden Globe nom), "No Place Like Home" (Cable Ace Award, Golden Globe Award, Emmy nom), "Crazy From The Heart," "Out of the Ashes," "The Pilot's Wife," "Open House," "The Book of Ruth," "Amerika" (Emmy nom, Golden Globe nom), "An American Daughter" (Golden Globe nom). Directing: My First Mister (opening night, Sundance Film Festival), "Chicago Hope," Lieberman in Love (Academy Award).
KEN LEUNG (Dr. William Tam) was born in NYC and grew up in Midwood, Brooklyn. He played Miles on ABC's "Lost" and worked with Joe Mantello 13 years ago in Terrence McNally's Passion Play, Corpus Christi, in which he played James the Less and God. Love.
JOHN LITHGOW (Theodore B. Olson). An acclaimed stage, screen, television actor and best-selling author, John Lithgow made his stage debut at age two (before he even remembers), onstage with his director father, Arthur Lithgow. He has performed on Broadway twenty times, receiving two Tony awards out of five nominations. Since 2008 he has toured his one-man theatrical memoir, Stories by Heart, all over the US and at London's National Theatre. Next up for Lithgow on Broadway is the title role in the premiere of David Auburn's The Columnist for the Manhattan Theatre Club in the Spring of 2012. Mr. Lithgow has appeared in over thirty major films. He received Academy Award nominations in two successive years, for The World According to Garp and Terms of Endearment. His current projects on film include Rise of the Planet of the Apes and the upcoming This is 40 for Judd Apatow. For his work on TV, Mr. Lithgow has been nominated for 11 Emmy Awards. He has won five, three for his role on NBC's "3rd Rock from the Sun," the hit comedy series which also brought him a Golden Globe, two SAG Awards, and the American Comedy Award. In 2009, he joined the cast of "Dexter" for its fourth season as the villainous Trinity Killer, earning another Golden Globe and his fifth Emmy. Mr. Lithgow received a bachelor's degree from Harvard and studied on a Fulbright at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. For children has written several best-selling picture books, released three CDs, performed concerts with major symphony orchestras, and even danced with the New York City Ballet. He was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame in 2005 and into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2010, and received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2001. Mr. Lithgow's memoir Drama: An Actor's Education is an upcoming release from HarperCollins, due out in late September of this year.
RORY O'MALLEY (Ryan Kendall, Broadway Impact Co-Founder) is honored and inspired to be a part of "8". As a Co-Founder of Broadway Impact, Rory has had a front row seat to the theater community's courageous fight for marriage equality. Currently Rory is starring in The Book of Mormon. He received both Tony and Drama Desk nominations for the role of openly closeted Mormon Elder McKinley. Other credits include Broadway: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Off-Broadway: Newsical. Regional: created the role of Richie Cunningham in Garry Marshall's Happy Days The Musical for Goodspeed Opera House, Paper Mill Playhouse, and recorded the original cast album. Rory expanded his repertoire of pasty white dudes by butchering the song "Cadillac Car" as lead singer of 'Dave and the Sweethearts' in the film Dreamgirls. Carnegie Mellon grad. Love and thanks to Gerold for putting up with an Actorvist.
ROB REINER (David Blankenhorn, AFER Board Member). Actor and director Rob Reiner has been a leader in elevating the issue of pre-Kindergarten education and other services for children ages 0 to 5. He chaired the campaign to pass Prop. 10, the California Children and Families Initiative, and chaired from 1999-2006 First 5 California, the state agency responsible for allocating $600 million a year for health, education and other services for young children and parents. He played a key role in defeating Prop. 1D, which would have gutted critical programs for Californian children, and he has also championed open space preservation and alternative energy. Recently, he and his wife Michele joined with the American Foundation for Equal Rights to bring the landmark federal court challenge to California's Prop. 8, the ban on marriage for gay and lesbian couples. Reiner's career as one of the nation's most accomplished actors and directors includes his Emmy Award-winning role in "All in the Family" and directing the films This is Spinal Tap, Stand by Me, The Princess Bride, When Harry Met Sally, Misery, A Few Good Men, The American President, The Bucket List, Flipped and the just-completed Summer At Dog Dave's.
BEN ROSENFIELD (Elliott) recently completed a successful run of Through A Glass Darkly opposite Carey Mulligan. He is currently filming Greetings From Tim Buckley directed by Dan Algrant, portraying the role of Tim Buckley. He also starred in the film The Virgins directed by Jack Turits (winner of Best Youth Film at the International Harlem Film Festival). Ben has studied theatre at the Barrow Group and is a member of the board of directors at the American Comedy Institute. Thanks to all who made this night possible.
KATE SHINDLE (Clerk). Broadway: Wonderland (Mad Hatter), Legally Blonde (Vivienne), Cabaret (Sally Bowles), Jekyll & Hyde. Elsewhere: After the Fall (Maggie), A Midsummer Night's Dream (Helena), Enter Laughing (Angela), Children of Eden, Gypsy, Into the Woods, The Last Five Years, First Lady Suite, Sympathy Jones, etc. Kate's small but enthusiastic film/TV career includes Capote, The Stepford Wives, "Gossip Girl," "White Collar," and some stunning work as Flight Attendant #1 on "As The World Turns." At age 20, she leveraged her Miss America 1998 title to talk about HIV/AIDS in places where AIDS activists weren't always welcome, and was the first to run the NYC Marathon to fundraise for Broadway Impact. Her writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, Newsweek, Salon.com and The Advocate. Northwestern grad, Actors Equity VP, and enjoyer of a good single-malt scotch.
YEARDLEY SMITH (Dr. Nancy Cott) is an Emmy Award-winning actress, playwright, author and shoe designer. She is perhaps best known for her work as the voice of Lisa Simpson on Fox's hit television series "The Simpsons," which is in its twenty-third season. Other television credits include: "Murphy Brown," "Herman's Head," "Dharma & Greg" and "The Big Bang Theory." Favorite films include: The Legend of Billie Jean, City Slickers, As good As It Gets, Waiting for Ophelia and the upcoming Virginia, written and directed by Dustin Lance Black. Her novel, I, Lorelei was published to critical acclaim by Harper Collins in 2009. She appeared in the original Broadway production of The Real Thing directed by Mike Nichols. She is currently in the Off-Broadway production of Love, Loss and What I Wore at the Westside Theatre. Her new shoe line, Marchez Vous, will be available in stores and online this Fall.
STEPHEN SPINELLA (Dr. Gary Segura). Broadway: Spring Awakening, Our Town, James Joyce's The Dead (Drama Desk Award, Tony Nom.), Electra, A View from the Bridge, Angels in America: Parts One and Two (Tony, Drama Desk Awards). Off-Broadway: The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide…; Svejk; Elle; A Question of Mercy; Love! Valour! Compassion!; The Seagull; Troilus and Cressida. Select film/TV: Faithful; Virtuosity; Love! Valour! Compassion!; The Jackal; Connie and Carla; Mil; Rubber; "The Education of Max Bickford," "24," "Desperate Housewives," "Heroes," "Grey's Anatomy," "Will and Grace."
BRADLEY WHITFORD (Charles Cooper) is a classically trained stage actor who has received critical acclaim for his roles in theater, film, and television. Whitford recently completed production on the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Have a Little Faith, based on the best-selling book by Mitch Albom and directed by Jon Avnet. Whitford most recently starred in and produced the FOX police comedy series "The Good Guys" opposite Colin Hanks. For seven years, Whitford was seen on the celebrated drama "The West Wing" created by Aaron Sorkin. His performance earned him a 2001 Emmy Award as well as Golden Globe Award nominations in 2001 and 2002. Whitford's film credits include the upcoming horror film The Cabin in The Woods, written and produced by Joss Whedon and co-starring Chris Hemsworth; Bottleshock co-starring Alan Rickman and Chris Pine; An American Crime with Ellen Page and Catherine Keener; Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Little Manhattan, Kate and Leopold, The Muse, Bicentennial Man, Scent of a Woman, A Perfect World, Philadelphia, The Client and many others. Growing up in Wisconsin, Whitford studied theater and English literature at Wesleyan University and attended the Juilliard Theater Center. Whitford's professional performance debut was in the Off-Broadway production of Curse of the Starving Class opposite Kathy Bates. Additional theater credits include Boeing Boeing on Broadway, Three Days of Rain at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Measure for Measure at Lincoln Center Theater, and the title role in Coriolanus at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C.
DUSTIN LANCE BLACK (Playwright, AFER Founding Board Member) is an award-winning screenwriter, director and producer. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Milk and was a writer and producer of the acclaimed TV series "Big Love." He recently completed his feature directorial debut, Virginia, and penned the screenplay for the upcoming J. Edgar, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Leonardo Dicaprio. Black is also a noted equal rights advocate. He was a leading opponent of Prop. 8 during the 2008 election, was a featured speaker at the 2009 March on Washington, has spoken at scores of colleges across North America and Europe, topped The Advocate magazine's list of "Forty Under 40," and has repeatedly been listed in OUT Magazine's "50 Most Powerful LGBT persons."
JOE MANTELLO (Director). Directing credits include Other Desert Cities, The Pride, Pal Joey, 9 to 5, November, The Receptionist, The Ritz, Blackbird, Three Days of Rain, The Odd Couple, Glengarry Glen Ross (Tony nomination), Laugh Whore, Assassins (Tony Award), Wicked, Take Me Out (Tony Award), Frankie and Johnny in the Clair De Lune, A Man of No Importance, Design for Living and Love! Valour! Compassion! (Tony nomination). As an actor: The Normal Heart (Tony nomination), Angels in America (Tony nomination) and The Baltimore Waltz. He is recipient of Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, Helen Hayes, Clarence Derwent, Obie and Joe A. Callaway awards. He is a member of Naked Angels and an associate artist at Roundabout Theatre Company.
ABOUT THE AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR EQUAL RIGHTS
The American Foundation for Equal Rights is the sole sponsor of the federal court challenge to Proposition 8, Perry v. Schwarzenegger. After bringing together Theodore B. Olson and David Boies to lead its legal team, AFER successfully advanced its case through federal district court and is now leading it through the appeals process. The Foundation is committed to achieving full federal marriage equality. AFER Board of Directors includes Chad Griffin (President), Bruce Cohen, Dustin Lance Black, Jonathan Lewis, Ken Mehlman, Michele Reiner and Rob Reiner.
ABOUT BROADWAY IMPACT
BROADWAY IMPACT is a non-profit organization of theatre artists and fans mobilized in support of marriage equality. Founded in 2008 by Tony-nominated performers Rory O'Malley (Book of Mormon), Gavin Creel (HAIR) and Production Coordinator Jenny Kanelos, BROADWAY IMPACT works to educate and inspire the theatre community into action. Recent initiatives include helping to staff the phone banking efforts in New York State, creating a 3,000 piece letter writing campaign, gaining the funding for 1,400 supporters to attend the National Equality March and producing a rally for over 5,000 attendees in Midtown Manhattan where speakers included, Cynthia Nixon, Audra McDonald, David Hyde Pierce, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Governor David Paterson. BROADWAY IMPACT was awarded the 2009 Human Rights Campaign Community Award.
SOURCE American Foundation for Equal Rights