Entertainment & Arts

Gay marriage: Adam Shankman on weddings, ‘Prop 8 -- the Musical’

Adam Shankman
Adam Shankman, shown at rehearsals for the 82nd Academy Awards, said he “gasped audibly and started sobbing” when he learned of the Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage.
(Matt Sayles / Associated Press)

Adam Shankman approaches causes important to him with a certain sense of humor.

The choreographer-turned-director, who was at the helm of the recent “Hairspray” and “Rock of Ages,” has long been an HIV/AIDS activist and an advocate for “all areas of LGBT freedom fighting,” he said in an email. 

In 2010, he publicly proposed to fellow “So You Think You Can Dance” judge Nigel Lythgoe when the California Supreme Court ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional. (He was quickly rebuffed.)

And in 2008, Shankman signed on to direct a three-minute short for the comedy site


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“Prop 8 — the Musical,” which now has 7.5 million views, starred John C. Reilly, Allison Janney and Maya Rudolph in choruses on opposite sides of the ballot measure — until Jack Black as Jesus and Neil Patrick Harris bridge the gap with a shrimp cocktail and a song-and-dance number. 

“Funny is my go-to defense strategy,” he said. “I like holding up a mirror to hypocrites and those who are mired in the culture of fear and hatred, and showing them and everyone how ridiculous and idiotic they are. It’s just my way.” 

It seems fitting that Shankman had a potent, yet funny moment, when he learned of the Supreme Court’s rulings that struck down a key part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and cleared the way for same-sex marriages to resume in California.


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"[I] was at the David Bowie exhibit” in London, said Shankman, who first saw the news on Twitter. “I very embarrassingly gasped audibly and started sobbing. I think people just thought I was a crazy Bowie fan.”

Shankman said that while there’s talk of a sequel to “Prop 8 — the Musical, ” Wednesday’s high court rulings affect him on a more personal level.

Shankman is planning a wedding with fiance Frank Meli, whom he calls “the great love of my life.”

But the “The Wedding Planner” director said his own nuptials will be a small -- and perhaps even serious -- affair.

“What I want to say to [Meli] in the vows is very personal and private, and I just don’t want to make a production out of it,” he said. “Besides, making ‘The Wedding Planner’ put me off the whole wedding thing forever. Too much work.”


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