About the Event

Oct. 2, 2012 at the historic Kentucky Theater

“8” is a powerful account of Perry v. Brown, the federal lawsuit filed by the American Foundation for Equal Rights to overturn Proposition 8, which in 2008 eliminated the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry in California. As “8” flashes in and out of the courtroom, watch both sides present the best evidence, arguments and witnesses for and against gay marriage. See how the case affects the plaintiffs and their children, and after the performance, learn how you can become more involved in the pursuit of equal rights.

Writer: Dustin Lance Black is screenwriter, director, film and television producer, LGBT rights activist and a founding board member of the American Foundation for Equal Rights.

Producers: Kentucky Conservatory Theatre (mykct.org) and JustFundKY (justfundky.org)

Director: Joe Ferrell is artistic director of KCT/SummerFest in Lexington. He has directed nearly 300 productions in his 40-year career, including 21 plays with the Lexington Shakespeare Festival/SummerFest and several with the Actors Guild of Lexington.

Stage manager: Kate Goodwin served as production manager for SummerFest in 2012. When she’s not in rehearsal somewhere, she’s hanging out with husband David and 2-year-old Lucy.

Scenic designer: Robert Pickering has spilt paint and light on hundreds of sets, from the opulent, open-air stage of the Santa Fe Opera to the diminutive, smoke- and poet-filled side room at Duffy’s Tavern.

KCT managing director: Wesley Nelson has worked across the country as an actor, director, producer, choreographer, vocal coach and musical director. He is general manager for the Kentucky Conservatory Theatre.

Lighting designer: Tom Willis is the technical director for the Balagula Theatre’s 2012-2013 season. A recent graduate of the University of Kentucky, he has worked with theaters in the greater Lexington area for the past five years.

The Cast

Joe Cannon Artz (Ryan Kendall) has stage experience with UK Theatre, Lexington Musical Theatre and Actors Guild, managed Broadway in Cincinnati and toured nationally with “Titanic,” “Les Miserables” and “The Phantom of the Opera.” After running a coffeehouse outside New Orleans, he returned to Lexington six years ago.

Leslie Beatty (Kris) is a professional actress and has worked with JustFundKY since the beginning.

Thomas Lee Brown (Mr. Olson) is a professional actor and voiceover artist who has made hundreds of commercials in the past 30 years. He also produced the 2007 film documentary “In Dreams Awake” and currently is the voice of the syndicated radio program “Red Barn Radio,” produced weekly in Lexington.

Poppy Champlin (Maggie Gallagher) is a nationally known lesbian comedian. She has two LOGO comedy specials and a SHOWTIME comedy special hosted by Bruce Vilanch titled “PRIDE: The Gay and Lesbian Comedy Slam.” She is a regular on Olivia and Atlantis cruises and recently was cast as Alice Beane in “Titanic: the Musical.”

Trish Clark (Sandy) served as artistic director for the Lexington Shakespeare Festival from 1996 to 2006 and for the Lexington Conservatory Theatre from 2006 to 2009. In 2003, she founded the Lexington Shakespeare Institute, now the Kentucky Conservatory Theatre.

Dmetrius Conley-Williams (Paul) has performed with regional theatres across the country, at the Barbican in London and at the Moscow Art Theatre in Russia. He is a graduate of the Institute of Theatre Training at Harvard and received his MFA from the Moscow Art Theatre. Tom Eblen (broadcast journalist) is a columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he was managing editor from 1998 to 2008. He returned to his hometown after 20 years as a reporter and editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Associated Press.

Joe Gatton (Mr. Cooper) has worked on several films in the region as an actor or casting director, including “Hitting the Cycle,” “Unrequited” and “Surviving Guthrie.” He last appeared on stage in “One Flea Spare” for Balagula Theatre. He has also worked for Actors Guild, SummerFest and others.

Eric Johnson (Judge Walker) has done a lot of shows in the past 30 years in Lexington and Woodford County. Of particular delight were the ones with Joe Ferrell, including “That Championship Season” (Phil), “Dracula” (the demon himself), “As You Like It” (Jaques), “Antony and Cleopatra” (Antony) and “Henry IV, Part 1” (Henry).

Dr. Nick Kouns (Evan Wolfson) is chairman of the Department of Medicine at Clark Regional Medical Center in Winchester. He is a past member of the Kentucky Arts Council’s board of directors and is a founding board member of KCT.

Roger Leasor (Mr. Boies) has graced – and occasionally disgraced – local stages for 46 years. One day he’ll get it right. He also is in his 41st year at Liquor Barn and is a lifelong Lexingtonian. This is his first time performing in the historic Kentucky Theater. What a treat!

Pam Miller (clerk) was the first woman elected to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council. After several terms, she was elected in 1993 to the mayor’s office, where she served for 10 years. She also has been a board member and chair of the Council on Postsecondary Education, the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence and the Lexington Opera Society.

David O’Neill (Dr. Segura) is a patron of the arts, is active in politics and serves on various boards. He also worked in the horse industry for 22 years. In 2009, the governor appointed him Fayette County’s property valuation administrator, and in 2010 he was overwhelmingly elected to a full term.

Foster Pettit (Dr. Herek) served in the state Legislature in the 1960s, sponsored Kentucky’s first civil rights legislation and was elected the first mayor of Lexington’s merged government in 1973. An attorney, he remains a strong community activist who champions historic preservation and equal protection for all.

Larry Roberts (Dr. Meyer) has a lifelong record of teaching and public service in the Commonwealth. He has been the Fayette County attorney since 2006.

Christopher Rose (Jeffrey) has played around with Actors Guild, Studio Players, Woodford Theatre, Balagula, BCTC, LSF, ActOut, On the Verge and theatres in Louisville, Milwaukee and the Chicago area. He also has toured nationally, performed in “The Legend of Daniel Boone” and appeared in independent films, including “Zombie Planet.”

Mead Ryder (Spencer) is a senior at Lafayette High School and a drama major in the SCAPA program there. He performed in “Into the Woods” and “Cinderella” at Lafayette in the spring and “Macbeth” in the fall. He also is active in Lexington Children’s Theatre and KCT programs.

Mike Scanlon (Dr. Tam) is CEO of Thomas & King and serves on the boards of Big Brothers/Big Sisters (chairman), National Diversity Solutions (chairman), Junior Achievement and CEO’s Against Cancer (co-founder). A former Georgetown College trustee and Lexington vice-mayor, he enjoys collecting and restoring vintage automobiles.

Rob Schrader (Elliott) is a senior in the Liberal Arts Academy at Henry Clay High School. He has appeared in numerous productions at Henry Clay, at Lexington Children’s Theatre and in SummerFest’s “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Rob also recently competed in the “Jeopardy!” Teen Tournament.

Kathy Stein (Dr. Nancy Cott) is an attorney and a former teacher who has served in the state Legislature since 1997. On the political stage in Frankfort, Sen. Stein has played a leading role when it comes to reason and justice for all, and she is an incredible advocate for children, women and LGBT issues.

Walter Tunis (Mr. Blankenhorn) has been active in Lexington theatre for more than 35 years, appearing regularly in the annual SummerFest. Recent roles there included Davenport in “The Crucible,” Falstaff in “Henry IV, Part 1” and Mr. Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice.” He has also worked as a contributing music critic for the Lexington Herald-Leader since 1980.

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