Monday night's star-studded reading of Dustin Lance Black's play 8, which renacts the Prop. 8 trial, played to sold-out audience but it seems Maggie Gallagher, of the anti-gay marriage group National Organization of Marriage, stole the show. Black, who won an Oscar for his Milk script, has all-star cast at his disposal--Morgan Freeman, John Lithgow, Bradley Whitford, Anthony Edwards, Larry Kramer and Yeardley Smith (Lisa Simpson) all star--to tell the tale of California's Proposition 8 trial. But it was Gallagher, her eating habits and a tense laugh that transfixed bloggers. Here's what we now know about the NOM chairwoman's date with 8:
She is now a supporter of equal rights. Unless she was given the tickets (and even then someone may have paid for them) or bought them on the black market, Gallagher's dollars went to a cause she's devoted to fight against. Elizabeth Riel, from the American Foundation For Equal Rights confirmed that "100% [of the ticket proceeds] went to AFER and Broadway Impact to secure full federal marriage equality."
She has no manners. "Ms.Gallagher brought a large plastic bag of loud food, which she rustled and munched throughout the production (she's still got it on the way out)," wrote blogger Andy Towle who sat a few rows in front of Gallagher. "Perhaps she thought it was a popcorn flick she was going to. In any case, someone should have told her that it's rude, perhaps even against the rules, to eat in the theatre. But we already know what Gallagher and her organization think of rules."
She watched the audience laugh at her. Jeremy Hooper, from the Good As You blog, recounted a moment of art unintentionally imitating life, "[T]he first genuine laugh line of the night -- like a big belly laugh that rolled through both the orchestra and mezzanine -- came courtesy of Judy Houdyshell's Maggie." He continues:
When Campbell Brown (in the role of cable news anchor) announced the name "Maggie Gallagher," I heard a few titters, surely from people who are well versed in all that she has said and done in the name of bias. But then the laugh really came on just a few seconds later, when -- either by direction, actor choice, or just happy accident -- Houdyshell had her Maggie start talking before Brown was done giving her intro. The audience roared at the familiarity of that, because it's exactly what Maggie always does in TV debates: She steamrolls right over whomever she's facing, making her points regardless of punditry decorum. I suspect that's why the audience uproariously laughed in the way that they did: Because even the less politically informed still had a passing familiarity with Maggie and her style.
She came away unscathed. From the looks of the pictures of Towle's blog, Gallagher is even sporting a big grin (right). "She's smiling, even as activist Corey Johnson gives her a piece of his mind," Towle wrote. Gallagher's merriment contrasts the way the NOM blog has described her interactions with gay community. Notably lacking is the "fire and brimstone" and "crazy" hostility.
Event Photo by: Diana Walker
Gallagher photo: Andy Towle for Towleroad.com