He is the busiest producer in television with record 14 series on the air, including Supergirl, and a married father of a toddler. Yet Greg Berlanti has taken on a side project, a one-night-only reading of Paramount Pictures’ Terms of Endearment at The Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles on Monday, October 1, to benefit Stand Up To Cancer.
Presented by Berlanti Productions and Supergirl co-showrunner Jessica Queller, the reading will feature Supergirl’s Melissa Benoist Calista Flockhart and Chris Wood as well as Alfred Molina (The Front Runner, Spider-Man 2), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley), Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians, Fresh Off The Boat), Willie Garson (White Collar), Kate Burton (Scandal) and Italia Ricci (Designated Survivor).
Berlanti and Queller are doing the event to honor the memory of their mothers who both died of cancer.
Berlanti’s mom passed away just over a year ago. “Throughout the time that she was sick she was always commenting, marveling at all the individuals who had to go through the sickness alone,” Berlanti said. He knew quickly after her death that he wanted to do something to help others battling cancer “to stay close to her and her memory.”
The idea for a reading came during a dinner Berlanti had with Supergirl stars Benoist and Wood who told him that they sometimes read plays together in their spare time. Berlanti asked them whether they would do it for a cause, and both were in right away. Benoist then texted Supergirl co-star Flockhart who also immediately came on board.
Berlanti knew Queller’s story and approached her about teaming up on the project.
Tomorrow will mark 15 years since Queller lost her mom to ovarian cancer after she had beaten breast cancer.
“My life has been completely colored by my loss,” said Queller who herself has the Breast Cancer gene mutation and has dedicated herself to helping educate young women about the disease and prevention.
Berlanti and Queller were looking at possible plays to do a reading of when the director they’d brought in, Gordon Greenberg, suggested doing a screenplay instead.
The Oscar-winning Terms of Endearment was an obvious choice.
“It’s a timeless story about a parent-child relationship, and it’s dealing with cancer — we felt it was a great way to honor those who lost and those who are still fighting,” said Berlanti, noting that the film’s writer-director-producer, James L. Brooks and studio, Paramount Pictures, have both been gracious, giving their blessing for the reading. The original cast featured Shirley MacLaine, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito and John Lithgow.
All proceeds from the fundraiser will benefit Stand Up To Cancer and Geffen Playhouse’s New Play Development Program. You can find more information on the event and get tickets here.