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Quarantunes bringing hope to Broadway

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The lights went back on in The New Amsterdam Theater in New York City Sunday evening to help those on Broadway who have been out of work for more than a year, as Richard and Demi Weitz capped a year spent raising a fortune for charity with their invitation-only Quarantunes series on Zoom.

Video Transcript

- Well, the lights went back on in one Broadway theater to celebrate the anniversary of Quarantunes. It's a fundraising effort to help folks cope with the devastation caused by the pandemic. It's the brainchild of a talent agent and his daughter from Los Angeles who came here to the city to help those on Broadway who have been out of work for more than a year. Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon is here with that story. Sandy.

SANDY KENYON: Sandra, for these Broadway fans, it was a night to remember when Richard and Demi Weitz capped a year of raising a fortune for charity with an evening in a Broadway theater opened especially for this occasion.

RICHARD WEITZ: We're in New York. It's our one-year anniversary of Quarantunes.

SANDY KENYON: He is a powerful Hollywood agent. She is a daughter determined to do good. Both are at ease with the famous faces and the most powerful people in entertainment.

RICHARD WEITZ: Clive, you there?

- I'm here.

DEMI WEITZ: Yeah.

RICHARD WEITZ: We don't ever really rehearse. We just wing it. And we go on, and the shining star happens.

DEMI WEITZ: I think it's all about being genuine, and really coming from the right place.

SANDY KENYON: Seeing Demi and Richard Weitz here, it's hard to believe Quarantunes began in their LA kitchen during lockdown after a few Zoom calls with friends.

DEMI WEITZ: Celebrities all over the place. It's so fun. It's my dad having a good time. But standing and looking at it from my place of privilege, I was like, this is obnoxious. We have to do something for the people who really need it.

SANDY KENYON: Their charity began with a modest goal of raising $10,000. To date, they've raised more than $22 million for dozens of organizations. This is their third effort for Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS.

TOM VIOLA: It's a blessing and a celebration. It's extraordinary. I haven't walked into backstage in a Broadway house for a year and a half. This has been so moving. It's like coming home.

SANDY KENYON: Disney loaned the New Amsterdam theater for the evening. A galaxy of stars appeared remotely.

- (SINGING) Come on, ladies, go.

DEMI WEITZ: This partnership works because it's a balance between generations.

RICHARD WEITZ: Right now, have to pay it forward. And I think that's really the lesson that Demi has taught so many people.

SANDY KENYON: It's also proof of what can be accomplished when a dad and his teenage daughter work together. Their charity effort has brought them closer. No wonder Richard Weitz calls this the greatest gift during the worst time in all our lives.

Finally, our thanks for making this Quarantunes story happen go to the team at Disney Theatrical, led by Tom Schumacher. Disney is the parent company of ABC 7. Dave and Sandra.

- Sounds awesome. Thank you so much.