American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

“8” National Spotlight: Dustin Lance Black Returns to Salinas, California

Dustin Lance Black’s play “8,” is headed to the California farm town of Salinas, where local theater programs The Western Stage and 2×4 BASH are performing a reading on July 20.

Melissa Woodrow of The Western Stage says she got the idea of staging a reading from Dustin Lance Black himself. While attending high school in Salinas, Black worked at The Western Stage as an apprentice and intern.

To make the reading particularly special, the director of the show has enlisted actors that have previously worked with Black at The Western Stage.

“For me personally, this is a great thing,” Melissa says. “I didn’t know much about Prop. 8 before, and this show helped inform me.” Melissa describes Salinas as one of many California farming towns that tends to be on the conservative side. She believes that “a lot of people here [in Salinas] will benefit from the education.”

“8” fits squarely with the work of the Western Stage. Founded in 1974, the theater and has spent the last four decades dedicated to education and cultural expression within the community of the Salinas Valley. This respected professional theatre program works to culturally enrich the youth of Salinas. 2×4 BASH is a collaborative theatre project that “challenge[s] artists and audiences alike to approach theatre from new perspectives.”

The reading will be performed on one night only, Friday, July 20 at the Mainstage Theatre of Hartnell College in Salinas. Tickets are free and the show will begin at 7:30pm. The Western Stage and 2×4 BASH also encourage all audience members to stay for the Q&A with marriage equality advocates from several organizations after the show.

“It is so obviously wrong that we would not allow someone to have simple human rights. It’s a great opportunity to educate the community,” says Melissa.

For more information about the show, visit the ‘8’ website. For tickets and reservations, please call (831) 755-6816 or email