Friday, June 22, 2007

"The Show Must Go On" to premiere at the Independent Television Festival!

We’ve just received news that our work-in-progress of The Show Must Go On is an official selection of the Independent Television Festival in Los Angeles July 27-29, 2007. We will post screening details when we have them.

Filming on this production all started when I met Wendie Jo Sperber on an elevator at the Hyatt Regency Penn’s Landing Hotel in Philadelphia in February 2004. You probably remember Wendie Jo best from either the 70’s sitcom Bosom Buddies or the film I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Of course, her work extends far beyond that… and in LA she became known as an “actor’s actor,” someone who all the stars knew and respected. Lately, she’d only been taking small parts, mostly on TV sitcoms like Will and Grace and 8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter, in order to keep her health insurance through the Screen Actors Guild.

She desperately needed that health insurance because of her long battle with breast cancer. And as we hit the town that night, dancing, singing and laughing our way through the city of brotherly love, we had no way of knowing that within a week Wendie Jo would hear this from her oncologist: “I’m so sorry to tell you this over the phone, but… the cancer has spread to your brain.”

Less than a month later, she headed to Berkeley, CA for a clinical trial that pumped oxygen to her brain tumors (18 in all) in an effort to make them more receptive to radiation. That’s when she called me and asked me to come visit. “Should I bring the camera?” I asked her. “Yes.”

After two weeks, the trial left her with lots of hope but few answers. She headed back to LA to get back to work on weSPARK, the organization she founded to help cancer patients and their families, and weSPARKLE, a big show (we fondly called it “The Extravaganza”) that would feature lots of her celeb buddies performing in ways that you wouldn’t expect.

In between connecting with Tom Hanks (who she used to commute with every day to the set of Bosom Buddies) to be the show’s co-host, and meeting with Bryan Cranston to nail down the script, she was shaving off the little hair that was left on her head following radiation, keeping life together at home as a single mom, and running a support group for other women like her -- women for whom cancer was back for a second, third, even fourth time. They jokingly called themselves the “re-runs”. That was Wendie Jo… always finding a way to laugh… a reason to love.

4 comments:

Kevin said...

Great news! Can;t wait to see it!

stephen said...

Wendie Jo was a tremendous talent, a sweet lady, and truly missed by her friends. I look forward to seeing this film in its entirety.

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