On November 19th the stars of Canadian theatre, film, TV and music came out in droves to participate in a variety show called It’s Always Something, an annual event to raise money for Gilda's Club. This year marked the 10th Anniversary of the event and was a remarkable evening of celebration.
This year marked the first time since the event’s inception that it was held in the 3000 seat Sony Centre, and the house was packed to capacity with people eager to support a worthy cause while seeing a star studded line up which included host Russell Peters, Andrea Martin, Martin Short, Eugene Levy, Paul Shaffer, Catherine O'Hara and more.
It’s Always Something was conceived ten years ago by FrEd Levy and Rick Muller as a way to raise money for Gilda's Club, a very special charity that puts an emphasis on the healing power of comedy and laughter in the face of cancer. Every year stars volunteer their time for the variety show, which is an inspired mix of music, comedy, theatre and education.
This year the creators wanted to do something bigger and better than ever before, and they definitely accomplished that. They set the bar high by moving the venue to a location almost double the size of its previous home (The Princess of Wales) and amassed a first-rate line up of talent. Many of the cast of the Original Canadian production of Godspell (Gilda's first professional show) were on hand, as well as SCTV alums and friends eager to honour her memory.
The evening kicked off with the band Lighthouse raising the roof off the Sony Centre, followed by Ms Andrea Martin delivering a hilarious and heart-felt rendition of "Let's Talk Dirty to the Animals" - an old favourite of Gilda's. Fred Willard delivered a unique and funny monologue about working in facilities for the criminally insane, and Jackie Richardson closed out the first act with a rip-roaring rendition of "It’s Raining Men", accompanied by none other than original lyricist Paul Shaffer.
The second act kicked off with a reunion of two SCTV alums, Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara, who recreated their famous alter egos Bobby Bitman and Lola Heatherton and sang a witty and gut-busting tribute to all things Canadian. Not to be out-done, music legend Andy Kim performed some of his number one hits (including the immensely popular "Sugar, Sugar") followed by Randy Bachman who performed "Taking Care of Business" (again with Paul accompanying). For an evening that was conceived around raising money for cancer, there was a tremendous amount of fun occurring on that stage. Personally, I feel like this is exactly how Gilda would have wanted it - all her friends and loved ones having a celebration in her honour. The audience embraced it whole-heartedly, singing and clapping along in their seats.
To close the show producers turned to legendary funnyman Martin Short, who brought an exceptional amount of humour, energy and heart to the stage as he performed a few numbers with his good friend Mr Shaffer. In the end, the entire line-up came together (with special surprise guest Rudy Webb) to sing "Day by Day", the hit song from the production responsible for launching Gilda's career, along with so many others.
Watching some of our country's most talented and respected performers singing that tune together was a glorious sight. It celebrated all that is good about musical theatre, but also showcased just what an incredible person Gilda Radner was. It has been 22 years since she passed away, and yet here were more than 20 people donating their time on a Saturday night, singing just for her. Even from the very back of the house you could see and feel the love the performers had not just for each other, but for the girl with the pigtails who inspired a generation. As long as we have evenings such as It’s Always Something, Gilda's memory will live on, and continue to inspire generations to come.