That All-Star Prop 8 Play Was So Cool, You Have To See It!

You guys, as a big fan of the book — I loved the movie!

And by that I mean that I’m a big fan of the prop 8 Trial Transcripts. I’ve read them all, and I’ve read the entirety of Judge Walker’s ruling and it has been just really delightful! If you followed Rachel’s Prop 8 Trial Recap, you would know something about that delightfulness. During the trial I felt a secret bond with Rachel because we were the only people we knew who were literally reading entire trial transcripts every day, so it was like we were in a Mini-Book Club. Like we were the only ones in the world who knew about The Hunger Games.

Anyhow, Saturday night the American Foundation For Equality livestreamed a Dustin Lance Black play reading on YouTube about the Prop 8 Trial. All the trial conversations in the play are directly from the transcript of the trial, word-for-word.

What’s great about this is that they truly picked the most effective and efficient way of getting the message out about  how good this book is! Or, rather, how this trial could change the world. They gathered some famous people for a reading and put it on YouTube. Sometimes there’s only like one or two rehearsals for a reading (when nobody has to memorize their lines), so it’s not an intense time commitment — but the characters and dialogue are so rich that it’s really imperative that everybody has a chance to know this story.

A first reading of this play happened last September with a different cast. I didn’t see that one, but I saw this one, and I liked it!

So, see George Clooney, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt, Martin Sheen, Matthew Morrison, Jane Lynch, Chris Colfer, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, John C. Reilly, Vanessa Garcia,  Yeardley Smith, Jamie Lee Curtis and GEORGE TAKEI AS WILLIAM TAM… right now:

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3177 articles for us.


  1. Amazing and inspiring. I loved every second of it. Jane Lynch is magical – somehow she almost makes Maggie Gallagher seem lovably naive (then I remember the real thing). Everyone did fantastic – Jamie Lee Curtis and Christine Lahti drove me to tears.

  2. I also read the transcripts of the trial every day while it was happening. It was so great to see it on stage. Those lawyers are brilliant!

    • ikr? you could tell in their speech at the end that they’re fully planning to be in history books for all of time

  3. That was amazing and one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time.
    in a way I almost felt bad for Cooper, he was trying so so hard to try to come up with anything. Obviously he couldn’t but props to Mr.Bacon on that performance

  4. I could waffle about documentary theatre for ages, but I’ll stick with this:

    Hell yeah!

  5. How is it possible that someone can legitimately argue a case with no evidence, no facts, no data to support his claim, nothing other than the “what has always been must be right” and the “fear of the unknown” argument in any court anywhere? I don’t understand how anyone could take this blatant, discriminatory nonsense seriously. It makes me want to scream angry things at anyone within a 834270879 radius of me.

  6. This was great. They did an excellent job of illustrating the piss poor reasoning of the Pro 8 camp. I was experiencing some heavy second hand embarrassment for them. It was so bad sometimes that I had to resist the urge to cover my face.

    I completely agree with David Boies’ comments at the end of the play. This play shows people what the trial was all about. They really did put fear and prejudice on trial, and fear and prejudice lost.

  7. I saw Chris Colfer’s scene on Tumblr and nearly cried. I’m looking forward to watching the rest later. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Jane Lynch was absolutely fantastic. Everybody was, but the first time she spoke I was in awe!

  9. this is awesome, i intended to skim through it, watched the whole thing! i’m now 2 hours behind in my day, but better than 200 years behind equality.

  10. I read all the transcripts too every day, I was obsessed! So good. I wanted to adapt Helen Zia’s testimony into a monologue for “Vagina Monologues” (but I think that’s like against the rules blah blah).

  11. I accidentally stayed up til 5.30am UK time watching this live on youtube :) It was completely worth it and I even got a little teary-eyed.
    Seeing so many actors I greatly admire participate in such an important play was incredibly affirming for me – I feel so much more hopeful about my plans to face up to the people in my life still on the side of fear and prejudice.

  12. This is fantastic and poignant and inspiring and infuriating and all-around spectacular.

    I also admit to screaming at 1:13:50 as Kevin Bacon “explained” why, throughout history, marriage has been between a man and a woman, “No THAT’S WRONG YOU’RE WRONG THIS IS WRONG IT WAS BECAUSE OF THE PATRIARCHYAAAAAAAAA!” and waving my hands around emphatically EVEN THOUGH I KNEW HE WAS GONNA GET OWNED IN A FEW MINUTES.

    The little boy next door shooting hoops under my open window went inside after that. I don’t think it was a coincidence.

  13. I was a bit late to the live airing of it, but I definitely enjoyed the parts that I saw. Now to just go back and watch the entire thing.

  14. Er, they kind of blanked out sexual fluidity. I can’t be the only one on Autostraddle who’s read Lisa Diamond.

  15. things i experienced while watching this: chills, tears, and uncontrollable laughter.

  16. I want a download or dvd copy of this so i can listen to Sheen/Olsen’s closing arguments for all time.

    Seriously, I can’t even find words for how amazing this play was.

  17. I found this at the worst possible time. 2am, with like 40 pages of reading left to do for my 8 am class tomorrow.

    …But holy crap it was so worth it.

  18. As I am currently without internets, I didn’t even hear about this until watching the news at work this morning.
    So, I did what any responsible government worker does, and logged in to youtube to watch it.
    And it brought me to tears.
    Imagine having to help the public, wiping tears from your eyes, and not being able to tell them why for fear of being fired?
    Yeah. My morning was like that.
    AMAZING reading, perfect casting, maybe this could help?
    We can only hope.

  19. john c reilly as blankenhorn is too freaking perfect. ideal bumbling mess. everyone was great, the whole thing was awesome, but the idea behind that guy playing that guy was pure genius.

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