It was double your pleasure, double your fun time as darling duos took center stage at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills for the “What A Pair!” Benefit Concert. The eclectic array of talented pairs included sassy sisters Carnie Wilson and Wendy Wilson singing “Making Whoopee,” and Mary Ann Mobley and Sara Neimeitz bridging the generation gap with a bluesy “Hard-Hearted Hannah.” There were more than 30 great ladies on hand to sing and help support breast cancer research and education programs at the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. The concert directed by Cameron Watson was made extra special for its tenth anniversary by inviting back songbirds to reprise some of the show-stopping duets from the past. Plus, some new supporters joined the concert tradition, and everyone had a terrific time enjoying all the twosomes.
The “pairings” of celebrities were comical, heartwarming, entertaining, and impressive. Telma Hopkins opened the show with Christina Pickles who introduced the acts. Telma was back later to duet with JoAnne Worley, and they put their own spin on the “Sisters” number from White Christmas dressed like nuns. It was a real crowd-pleaser, as was “Mammaries” lampooning mammograms that Worley sang solo (albeit next to a life-size cutout of herself). More highlights of the show included the shapely Lisa Ann Walter (Bruce Almighty) and Rosa Blasi (Strong Medicine) going for the gusto with the “T&A” song from A Chorus Line. Two Broadway pros Nancy Dussault and Beverly Sanders sang “Keeping Out of Mischief,” and Amanda McBroom and Tierney Sutton turned “My Favorite Things” into an ethereal tune.
Sisters Madelyn and Zoey Deutch joined their mom Lea Thompson (Switched at Birth) in the show-stopping “I Believe” from The Book of Mormon. Joely Fisher and Vicki Lewis got emotional with “Astonishing,” as did Valarie Pettiford (Broadway’s Fosse) and Jennifer Leigh Warren (Little House of Horrors) with “Home” from The Wiz. Maggie Wheeler (Californication) and Kathleen Wilhoite (ER) did “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning.” Brianna Brown (Devious Maids) and Alexis Carra (Incredible Girl) did “What is This Feeling” from Wicked.
A wickedly funny “Let’s Kill the Ingénues” came from Lori Alan (Family Guy) and Mary Birdsong (The Descendants); “Blues in the Night” came from Sara Gazarek and Malina Moye; and Arden Kaywin Lodal and Nina Storey did “Midnight Radio.” Another treat was Lili Haydn and her violin with “I Still Believe,” and Loretta Devine (Grey’s Anatomy) and Nikki Crawford (Play On!) rocked the house with “Rocks in My Bed.” There was all that talent and more on the Saban stage for the “Our Time” upbeat finale.
The event, which offered Broadway caliber entertainment, was thanks to the vision of Jo Levi DiSante, who was empowered by a desire to support her sister and mother, both of whom battled breast cancer. DiSante enlisted fellow producers Jody Price and Ruth Stalford in 2002 to create “What A Pair!” The concert has raised over $2.5 million dollars for breast cancer research over the last decade. This year’s success is also thanks to the efforts of honorary co-chairs Cookie Markowitz and Tracy Forester.
For more than 300 guests there was a pre-show red carpet and post-concert VIP dinner after party with the celebrity cast. Presenting sponsors were Nicole Frank and Bob Barth, plus Cookie and Ron Markowitz. The stellar cast also got to enjoy a very special GBK gift lounge that was sponsored by GBK founder Gavin Keilly, whose motto is “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.” Support also came from so many generous people who are helping mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters everywhere.