American Foundation for Equal Rights

Marriage News Blog

“8″ Spotlight: Marriage Equality Play Comes to Houston

“8” was created on the belief that theater has the power to transform people’s minds on the issue of marriage equality. If everyone could just see what happened in that federal courtroom two years ago, minds would be opened, truth would continue to spread, and public support would build.

Six readings of Dustin Lance Black’s marriage equality play are now scheduled throughout the conservative state of Texas.

In Houston, The Alley Theatre program is hard at work preparing their reading, which is set to take place on September 10 at the Neuhaus Stage. The Alley Theatre program was founded over 60 years ago and is the third oldest regional theatre group in the United States. Performing year round as Houston’s premiere theatre company, The Alley strives to “deepen the understanding of ourselves, one another and the world we share by uniting artists and audiences to experience the power of stories,” according to its official mission statement.

Joe Babb, director of education for The Alley, got the idea to stage a reading of ‘8’ after he heard about it through a newsletter. Joe also works with Unhinged, another Texas theatre group that is dedicated to LGBT issues, so it seemed like the perfect fit.

“Houston is a more low key city than most of the rest of the state,” Joe explains. “However, it is interesting because the people that participate in the arts in our city are [mostly] Republican. They are entrepreneurs, oil people, businesspeople – but they are also well educated. So, there is a logical appeal [to the play] that will help people understand the [marriage] situation better.”

Joe hopes that their reading will engage the community, and offer a chance for change and education. “It’s such a compelling case and there is history there. We hope to get the straight community, who [may be] ambivalent, off the fence.”

The reading will be performed on Monday, September 10 at the Neuhaus Stage in Houston. Rather than the traditional talk-back after the show, The Alley is planning a pre-show panel discussion with experts on LGBT and legal issues.

Tickets will start being sold toward the end of August. For more information, check out the ‘8’ website, as well as The Alley website.