Quarantunes, the innovative series of fundraising Zoom concerts created and hosted by WME Partner Richard Weitz and his daughter Demi Weitz, broke its own record October 18 when an evening featuring over two dozen Broadway artists raised $1,238,273 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. This is the first time the invitation-only stream passed the $1 million fundraising mark in one night.
The six-hour event was the second Quarantunes fundraiser for Broadway Cares, following a June 27 evening that raised $867,767 (the previous Quarantunes fundraising record).
The informal concert, which welcomed more than 700 guests virtually during a Broadway-themed evening, boasted performances by Shoshana Bean, Erich Bergen, Deborah Cox, Lena Hall, Megan Hilty, Jay Armstrong Johnson, Ramin Karimloo, Cyndi Lauper, Jenifer Lewis, Norm Lewis, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Abby Mueller with Matt Mueller on guitar, Bebe Neuwirth, Eva Noblezada and Reeve Carney, Leslie Odom Jr., Lauren Patten, Bernadette Peters with Marvin Laird on piano, Billy Porter, Stark Sands, Marc Shaiman, Jarrod Spector and Kelli Barrett, and Teddy Swims.
Just a few of the numerous highlights: Tony winner Peters dazzling with the Into the Woods anthem, “No One Is Alone”; Grammy and Tony winner Lauper performing an a cappella version of one of her signature tunes, “True Colors”; and 2020 Tony nominee Patten offering her show-stopping “You Oughta Know” from Jagged Little Pill.
There were also surprise appearances by Josh Groban, Sean Hayes, and Marissa Jaret Winokur, as well as a video message about Broadway Cares from stage and screen icon Julie Andrews. Attendees were also treated to pre-recorded performances featuring the original casts of the Tony-winning Hairspray, Kinky Boots, and Rent.
“We are again truly amazed by and deeply grateful to the generous supporters who made this special evening possible, the spectacular lineup of Broadway’s best, and, of course, the wonderful Richard and Demi,” said Tom Viola, executive director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, in a statement. “The evening was a moment of light and sheer joy. And that joy will translate into lifesaving medication, healthy meals, and emergency assistance for those within our theatrical community and across the country whose lives have been impacted by HIV, COVID-19, and other life-threatening illnesses.”
Richard Weitz added, “This evening was an incredible gift for Broadway fans and the Broadway community at a time when we now know we won’t be together in a theatre again until at least summer 2021. Demi and I are so grateful to have helped raise more than $2 million across these two concerts to help people in need get groceries and medication, and to pay their rent during this terrible time. We are such huge theatre fans and to be a small part of Broadway Cares is so gratifying.”
There have been 31 editions of Quarantunes so far, each raising funds for different organizations, including Equal Justice Initiative, John Legend’s FREEAMERICA, Los Angeles Food Bank, and United Way. For the October 18 edition, there were a series of matching donations from Broadway Cares supporters: An anonymous donor matched donations up to $300,000; City National Bank matched up to $100,000; Craig Newmark Philanthropies matched donations up to $100,000; and there was a combined $100,000 match from Elizabeth Armstrong, Tina Fey, and NBCUniversal.
Every dollar donated to Broadway Cares will provide lifesaving support to people across the country, including those in the entertainment industry, whose health and financial needs are heightened by the COVID-19 crisis. The donations also support and champion organizations working toward social justice and anti-racism.
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the American theatre community, since 1988 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised more than $300 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.