Quarantunes marks 1st anniversary by lighting up Broadway theater in Times Square

BySandy Kenyon via KGO logo
Monday, April 12, 2021
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Sandy Kenyon reports on the lights back on in The New Amsterdam Theater in New York City.

TIMES SQUARE, Manhattan -- 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.

Richard Weitz is a powerful Hollywood agent, while 18-year-old Demi Weitz is a daughter determined to do good -- and both came to Times Square to celebrate Quarantunes' one year anniversary.

"We don't ever rehearse," Richards said before the marathon fundraiser began. "We just wing it and go on, and a shining star happens."

Quarantunes involves virtual shows on Zoom with high-profile musical guests and have included John Legend, Bernadette Peters, the cast of "Hamilton," Rod Stewart, Sting, Barry Manilow, and many, many others -- to the tune of more than 200 artists and entertainers.

RELATED | Quarantunes' virtual fundraiser brings in millions for Broadway charity

The charity started with a very modest goal of raising $10,000. Since then, the duo has raised more than $22 million.

"It's all about being genuine and really coming from the right place," Demi said.

Seeing them onstage amid the splendor of the restored theater, it's hard to believe Quarantunes began in their Los Angeles kitchen right after the lockdown began.

It all started after a few fun Zoom calls with their famous and powerful friends.

"Celebrities all over the place," Demi said. "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 people who really need it.'"

RELATED | Broadway reunites in Times Square for pop-up performance 1 year after shutdown

Dozens of organizations have benefited, and the night at The New Amsterdam was their third afford for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

"It's a blessing and a celebration," Executive Director Tom Viola said. "It's extraordinary. I haven't walked backstage in a Broadway house in a year and a half. It's been so moving. It's like coming home."

Disney Theatrical loaned the empty theater for the evening, and a galaxy of stars appeared remotely.

"This partnership works because it's a balance between generations," Demi said.

Her father agreed, highlighting the importance of those who haven't been as negatively affected by the pandemic to take care of others.

"Right now, if you have, you have to pay it forward," Richards said. "I think that's really the lesson that Demi has taught so many people."

RELATED | Hollywood agent Richard Weitz, daughter raise millions for charity with 'Quarantunes'

It's also proof of what can be accomplished when a father and daughter work together. Their year-long charity effort has brought them closer, and it's no wonder that Richard calls Quaranratunes, "Our greatest gift during the worst time in our lives."

CLICK HERE to find out you can donate to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

Disney Theatrical, led by Thomas Schumacher, is owned by the same parent company as this ABC station.