Project Description

Gilda Radner (Toronto) [Poster]

Friends of Gilda (Toronto)

Stage Manager for a TV special and concert FRIENDS OF GILDA a tribute benefit event to Gilda Radner at the Elgin Theatre in Toronto on September 26, 1992. The benefit performance raised money for research into a cure for ovarian cancer, which tragically took the life of Gilda Radner. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) broadcast the event.

Produced by Marlene Smith.  Directed by Martin Short, Musical Direction by Paul Shaffer, Production Managed by Peter Van Johnson, Stage Managed by Toby Simkin, Lighting Design by Steve Ross and Sound Design by Al Merson.

Starring John Candy, Jayne EastwoodVictor Garber, Marvin Hamlisch, Andrea Martin, Stephen Schwartz, Don Scardino, Martin Short, Dave Thomas, Catherine O’Hara, Eugene Levy and a long line of other celebrities from Second City and other members of the original cast of Godspell including Valda AviksAvril ChownJerry Salsberg and Rudy Webb.

Other performers appearing in the show include Jim Betts, Karl Blindheim, Valri Bromfield, Beth Anne Cole, Nancy Dolman, Brian Doyle-Murray, Robin Duke, Patty Elsasser, Mary Ann McDonald, Derek McGrath, Carole Pope, Rosemary Radcliffe, Charlene Shipp, Kevan Staples, and Robin White. It included a series of skits from Second City, songs and other performances linked together in a moving tribute supported by Gene Wilder.

Friends of Gilda Radner Toronto CBC TVFriends of Gilda appeared as a 90 minute CBC Television special broadcast on 21 November 1993. The special was directed by Martin Short, who had dated Gilda Radner when they were both in Godspell.  The special included songs from Godspell, backstage footage of the production, several clips from Saturday Night Live, and 4 comedy sketches:

  1. Rehearsal” featured John Candy as an actor unable to remember his lines. Joe Flaherty and Eugene Levy also appeared as actors playing actors in that sketch.
  2. Human Sexual Response” featured Andrea Martin as Dr. Cheryl Kinsey (an allusion to the Kinsey Reports and Alfred Kinsey, their principal author) discussing how to fake an orgasm.
  3. The Defense” featured Dave Thomas and was about a man defending himself for a heinous crime.
  4. Van Kamp’s Beans” is about the funeral of a man who died trying to obtain more beans. The sketch features Jayne Eastwood as “Widow Smedly”, Dave Thomas as “Tony Ipanema”, and Luciano Lutz as a priest.

Gilda Radner

GODSPELL 1972 Toronto program coverBorn June 28, 1946 in Detroit, Michigan, drama major Gilda Radner dropped out of the University of Michigan where she studied theatre and improvisation, but did not graduate and instead moved to Toronto in 1969 (by most accounts, to follow a boyfriend), where she got her professional start in acting after being cast as Gilmer in the now-legendary 1972 production of Godspell, which began previews on May 26, opened on June 1 and with an expectation of running for just a few performances closed August 12, 1973 after 488 performances at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Godspell directed by John-Michael Tebelak also featured future stars Victor Garber (Jesus), Jerry Salsberg (Judas), Valda Aviks (Peggy), Avril Chown (Joanne), Jayne Eastwood (Sonia), Eugene Levy (Herb), Andrea Martin (Robin), Martin Short (Jeffrey) and Rudy Webb (Lamar)