Of all the events and fundraisers held every October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we look forward most to Les Girls cabaret, where Hollywood stars put on a saucy musical show to raise money and awareness for the National Breast Cancer Coalition. The 11th annual revue on Oct. 17 raked in $450,000 from ticket sales, pledges and silent auction bids, bringing the NBCC that much closer to its goal of ending breast cancer by 2020.
“I’m sure you’ve been touched by breast cancer,” said Modern Family’s Julie Bowen, the evening’s host. “I don’t know anyone who hasn’t.” She introduced NBCC president and cancer survivor Fran Visco, who shared some sobering statistics: one in eight women will get breast cancer; 260,000 will be diagnosed this year alone, and 40,000 of those women will die from the disease.
Not surprisingly, many of the celeb performers in The Love Boat-themed show, directed by actor Jason Alexander, had personal ties to the disease. Gina Torres (Suits), who opened the show with the blues tune “Slow Rollin’ Mama,” noted that “A couple of dear friends have had breast cancer.” The actress, who lost her mother to a different type of cancer, added, “We have to continue to raise awareness.”
Broadway veteran Katie Finneran, who will star in Fox’s upcoming sitcom I Hate My Teenage Daughter, said, “One of my very good friends was diagnosed right as she had a baby and it was a desperate time for her. But I know the NBCC had something to do with her healing.” The two-time Tony winner sang one of the evening’s tamer tunes, about a clueless woman who falls for a gay man on a cruise.
Men got into the Les Girls act too, two of them providing the most hilariously raunchy numbers. Mad Men alumnus Bryan Batt sang the potty-mouthed “My Future Wife,” and Steven Weber, currently in The Big Year, delighted the audience with the double entendre-filled “Blow Me (a Kiss From Across the Room).” Having performed in the benefit for nine of its 11 years, Weber is committed to the cause. “The sad thing is if you’re around long enough almost every single disease affects you or your family,” he says. “Cancer is something that has been in my life for years. My sister passed away from cancer. So it’s a cause that’s dear to me.”
Other highlights included Alexander serenading Sarah Chalke; Laura Bell Bundy channeling Tina Turner, Julie Andrews and Judy Garland; and Celine Dion’s show-stopping medley, and Loretta Devine’s show-closer, “I Told You I Love You, Now Get Out!”
Do you plan to take part in any breast-cancer-awareness fundraisers or events this month?
Photo credit: Brandon Clark/ABImages