Martin Sheen commanded the stage with his impassioned portrayal of an attorney arguing for gay-marriage rights; Jane Lynch inspired instant response as a vehement same-sex marriage opponent; Brad Pitt dazzled as a judge.
It was all part of the star-studded West Coast premiere of “8,” a play about the 2010 federal court fight against Proposition 8, the gay-marriage ban that California voters approved in 2008.
The performance Saturday at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles also featured George Clooney, Kevin Bacon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christine Lahti, George Takei, John C. Reilly, Chris Colfer, Matthew Morrison and Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
The play by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black made its Broadway debut last year in similar starry fashion. Saturday’s benefit performance was broadcast live on YouTube, where director Rob Reiner said it drew 200,000 viewers. He hopes it attracts more than a million before its weeklong online run ends. The play will also be staged around the country with local actors at colleges and community theaters.
Clooney and Pitt have expressed interest in being part of a potential big screen adaptation of the play.