The sixth biennial “Stand Up to Cancer” telethon was broadcast live on all major networks Friday night, but there were some things you didn’t see unless you were in the audience. And TheWrap was.
The show at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica brought out many high-profile figures to man the donation call stations from the wings, many of whom have been affected or have had family members affected by cancer. Among them, Matt Damon, Jason Bateman, Josh Brolin, Sofia Vergara, Sarah Hyland, Tony Hale, Maria Menounos and Max Greenfield. Celebrity speakers included Mahershala Ali, Ed Helms and Katie Couric, who is one of the organization’s co-founders.
“A Star is Born” director Bradley Cooper returned as co-executive producer of the show.
Here are just a few behind-the-scene moments:
Ken Jeong Riles Up the Crowd
Minutes before the live show began, “Crazy Rich Asians” star Ken Jeong came onto the stage to acknowledge the women who founded “Stand Up to Cancer,” asking them to stand up.
Practice Makes Perfect
Though celebrities are certainly used to being in front of the camera, most of us ordinary folk are not. In order to make sure the live show ran smoothly, show coordinators and choreographers rehearsed key moments of the telecast before it began — such as an audience sing-along of “With a Little Help From My Friends.” And the preparation was necessary, because the applause and overall emotions during the show were so overwhelming, the stage cues were just barely noticed.
A Focus on the Audience
The stories of cancer survivors were shown on video during the telecast, and while on stage, Matt Damon asked cancer patients and survivors in the crowd to stand up. The camera panned to sections of the audience, and while powerful on-screen, the true weight of the segment was felt when, as part of the audience, you could see just how many people had been shaken by the disease. Additionally, audience members asking one another about their individual stories before the show fostered a rare kind of camaraderie.
Shine a Light
While Jason Bateman was speaking about the groups of doctors, known as “dream teams,” funded by “Stand Up to Cancer,” audience members turned on their phone flashlights to reflect just how many hopeful “lights” there are in what may seem like hopeless situations. The telecast only caught about half the audience during the moment, but the view of everyone shining their lights was a sight to behold.
The Grandest of Pianos
You probably tuned in for Stevie Wonder’s salute to Aretha Franklin — who died of pancreatic cancer last month — seated and singing at a yellow-and-orange-lacquered grand piano. What you didn’t see, however, was a crew of five people who pushed the piano to center stage during a pre-taped video, with another wiping it down just before Wonder came on.
Stand Up To Cancer’s (SU2C) mission is to raise funds to accelerate the pace of research that can get new therapies to patients quickly. The fundraiser aired commercial-free on more than 50 broadcast and cable networks across the U.S. and Canada and is available to watch on-demand on Hulu as well as “Stand Up to Cancer’s” YouTube channel.
You can still donate to Stand Up To Cancer by calling 1.888.907.8263 or at SU2c.org.