Everybody Loves Raymond
Everybody Loves Raymond Image Credit: Supplied

A decade and a half after ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ aired its last original episode, cast members Ray Romano, Patricia Heaton, Brad Garrett and Monica Horan are back in character on October 23 for a virtual table read of scenes from the long-running sitcom that will stream via YouTube and help raise funds and awareness in the battle against myeloma.

The socially distanced celebrity table read has emerged as a popular way for Hollywood to support charitable organisations during the pandemic. In September, a virtual table read marking the 38th anniversary of ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ raised money for COVID-19 relief and criminal justice reform. In July, it was the cast of ‘Scott Pilgrim vs the World,’ which helped fund global non-profit Water for People, and back in April, the cast of ‘The Nanny’ reunited online to benefit star Fran Drescher’s non-profit Cancer Schmancer Movement.

While the streaming table-read reunion is a new one for the stars of ‘Everybody Loves Raymond,’ getting together to benefit the International Myeloma Foundation is not. Members of the cast — as well as a deep bench of celebrity friends and family — have convened annually for more than a decade to support the Peter Boyle Research Fund, named in honour of the late actor and ‘Raymond’ co-star who died in 2006 after a four-year battle with myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells.

His widow, Loraine Boyle, organised the first fund-raiser the next year, and to date, it has raised close to $8 million to fund research to fight the disease. (For the last seven years, it’s also benefited the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative, which is conducting myeloma cure studies around the world.)

Series co-creator Phil Rosenthal (as well as some not-yet-revealed special guests) will also be involved in the 90-minute event, which in addition to recreating scenes from a handful of episodes, will include reminiscences about working with Boyle and fellow cast member Doris Roberts, who died in 2016 as well as a moderated question-and-answer session. The event will be available to stream starting at 9pm Eastern on Friday (5am on Saturday in the UAE) via the IMF’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Additional information about the event, as well as ways to donate to the IMF’s Peter Boyle Research Fund, can be found at comedy.myeloma.org.