Paul Wilson: ‘8’ Limps into Kauffman, Shadow of Former Self

jerry-springerI was given a red hot tip in June on a celebrity event about to take place at the Midland

It was to be an event the likes of which Kansas City had never seen, nor would again. It was the reading of the play “8,”scheduled for July 21st.

For those unfamiliar with the play, “8″ is the true story of two gay couples who wanted to get married but couldn’t. So they lawyered up and took on Proposition 8, the California law making it illegal for gays to marry.

“8” was written by Academy Award-winner Dustin Lance Black – who you may or may not know from Milk or J. Edgar fame – and is based on actual trial transcripts and interviews with the plaintiffs and families.

The desire to bring the production to KC was the brain child of local dude Nick Padgett of Padgett Productions.

I can’t slip anything past you, can I?

You’re correct, the 21st came and went and you didn’t see “8,” did you?

From the start the plan sounded insanely over ambitious.

The initial all-star cast was to include 20 of the biggest names in Hollywood; names like Jane Fonda, Will Smith, Robert DeNiro, Lance Bass, Felicity Huffrman, Morgan Freeman, Alec Baldwin, Rob Lowe, Ben Affleck, Tina Fey, all supposedly locked, loaded and confirmed.

8But from concept to curtain call in less than 30 days?

It became clear in the first 72 hours, that while there was no ill intent on anyone’s part, “insanely over ambitious” was a compliment and it would likely never see the light of day, let alone the marque of the Midland.

As the days passed, Hollywood sources indicated the “stars” weren’t ever confirmed and plans crumbled further. The prospect of the Midland – spotlights in the sky, a cast of stars, red carpet, blocks or waiting limos and VIP parties – appeared less and less likely.

It has now regrouped and moved to the Kauffman Center and will go down at 8pm, August 3rd with a new cast of characters. And who, you ask, could ever top that earlier list?

Simple, Emmy-winning writer Bruce Vilanch for one.


You may remember Vilanch for his 4 year run on Hollywood Squares.

Then there’s former NBC soap dude Bruce Michael Hall of “Passions” and “One Life to Live.” (Yeah, I’m right there with you, me either…)

And finally, Jerry Springer, politician, stand-up comic, creepy talk show host extraordinaire, who needs no introduction!

So there’s your all-star lineup.

Sandra-Meade-248x300But just when you thought it was safe to raise the curtain, in comes Sandra Meade, head chick at the Kansas City chapter of Kansas Equality Coalition, a group that represents the rights of the LGBT community.

Meade spoke loudly in objection to 1/3rd of the entire cast and said; “Jerry Springer has stripped much of the transgender community of their dignity, jeopardized their safety, and made it much harder to obtain their legal equality,” adding, “Thanks to the need to constantly battle the narrative of them being deceitful impostors and quacks that the Jerry Springer Show has willingly nurtured for over 20 years on public television.”

I don’t understand Meade’s objections; Springer has done that to every guest on his show – gay or straight – even implicating some farm animals in the process.

Meade’s solution (as if this production needed any more problems):

Boycott a performance already on life support?

Word of the planned boycott got to Padgett, who said he was clueless about Springer’s cross dressing, transgendered show antics. Maybe this is how the plans for this production got to this condition to begin with.

Meade’s reportedly holding out for a press release officially putting a bullet in Springer before she calls the boycott off, but for now, it’s on with the show….what’s left of it, that is.

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16 Responses to Paul Wilson: ‘8’ Limps into Kauffman, Shadow of Former Self

  1. chuck says:

    Makes me wanna guzzle some Russian Vodka.


  2. paulwilsonkc says:

    Can’t you boys just hear Smarty phonin it in on this one?
    I love and support my friends in the gay community, but man, this things gotten drug throw the wringer in the past month!

  3. the dude says:

    It is good to know the LGBT community can be so welcoming and inviting that they want to protest some show because of a guy that used to have a fake talk show that did nothing to cause harm to those people.

  4. paulwilsonkc says:

    Dude that was my point in my comment about not understanding her objection. I made it tongue in cheek, but it’s also a fact. Springer has parodied anything and everything from white trash meth heads, to nuns, food groups and, as I said, farm animals.
    I think it’s rather thin skinned to think that was really an affront to the LBGT community. It’s an affront to humans and decent television, but not just her community of interest.
    We should arranged a protest, gathered a bunch of girls from Independence Ave and made them signs indicating Springer gives ho’s and meth heads a bad name.

    • expat says:

      Everyone knows lesbians have no sense of humor. Ever seen the Ellen show? QED.

    • the dude says:

      I thought that crowd was supposed to be the openminded ones. I guess not.

      • paulwilsonkc says:

        Interesting comment, Dude. It’s one of life’s quandaries, one has the right to protest one thing, and you don’t have the right to protest them.
        One is a good protest, the other is intolerant and bigoted, but oddly enough, both sides are simply standing up for their own personal convictions.
        My disagreement with Meade has nothing to do with LBGT issues, it has to do with the fact its JERRY SPRINGER, for God’s sake. Springer?
        It’s like me protesting King of the Hill because guys in my neighborhood don’t stand down by the telephone poll and talk like that so it makes all us hetro males look like a stereotype I don’t support. It’s like all the guys in the propane industry boycotting the show because he makes them all look stupid and that’s not how propane salesmen really are.
        It’s a parody no one takes serious. I can’t imagine anyone watches Springer, even in the buckle of the Bible belt thinks, “oh my god, is that how them gays and cross dressers really live? No wonder God hates them; they are just a bunch of reprobates!”
        I suppose hetro males and females alike should protest over what he makes us look like, but equally wasted time. Its trash TV that no one thinks is real for a moment.
        But your point remains, it’s funny how some groups can protest and boycott while being in the right, simply for standing up for what they believe, but if you would do same in return to them, you’re a bigot. Some always think their values are the only true values.

  5. Deannam says:

    The reason that Sandra Meade is protesting is because Jerry Springer isn’t gay…but she can’t, and pardon the possible pun here, “come out” and say it’s the true reason she doesn’t want him in the show. It’s no secret that everyone knows that Bruce Vilanch is gay. Don’t know about Bruce Michael Hall but no one knows who he is anyways. If someone said that Bruce Michael Hall shouldn’t be in the show because he’s gay or he’s not gay, I think everyone would say, “who cares?” But Jerry Springer, well, he’s bigger than Bruce Vilanch (in name only, not size) and there’s some mighty good publicity points to score there.

  6. paulwilsonkc says:

    Deannam, I’d really like to think you were wrong as your reasoning would make her sound even more shallow than what her quoted reasoning was. “8” has been read other places around the country, Unity on the Plaza for one, and it’s not been all gay cast members.
    Regardless of the real reason I find it hypocritical. I have several gay friends. I’m supportive of them. That’s my choice. Some people are opposed to them; that’s their choice. I lose patience when tolerance is demanded but not offered. For gods sake, if Springer wasn’t gay friendly he wouldn’t be coming to participate! So look who she’s attacked.
    I have maybe seen part of two or three Springer shows; it defines trash TV. But at no point would I ever think he was serious any more than I would think the cross dressing flaming “characters” on the show are real either.
    I think her stance was silly but I support her right to take it.

  7. PB says:

    Not to mention that all of Springer’s guests willingly came on his show so that they could be exploited. What’s screams true equality more than that?

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