RWQuarantunes, the virtual fundraising concerts created and hosted by father and daughter Richard Weitz and Demi Weitz, celebrated Broadway and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS April 11 with a five-hour, invitation-only online event.
The stream, attended by 800 theatre fans, featured performances by Kristin Chenoweth, Deborah Cox, Robert Cuccioli, Loretta Devine, Lena Hall, Joshua Henry, Jennifer Holliday, James Monroe Iglehart, Christopher Jackson, Nathan Lane, Stephanie Mills, Bernadette Peters, Lea Salonga, Sheryl Lee Ralph, and more.
The evening was streamed live from the bare stage of Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre, home to Disney’s Aladdin, and raised $1,309,970 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The concert was the third evening benefiting the fundraising organization: A June 27, 2020 RWQuarantunes concert raised $867,767 for Broadway Cares, while the October 18, 2020, evening raised $1,238,273.
Highlights included original Dreamgirls stars Devine, Holliday, and Ralph discussing the musical’s path to Broadway and offering impromptu performances of the show’s title song and “And I Am Telling You”; Chenoweth and Demi Weitz performing the Wicked duet “For Good” followed by Chenoweth’s solo on the Dolly Parton classic “I Will Always Love You”; The Wiz star Mills performing “Home”; Aida’s Headley belting out “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” from The Lion King; Cuccioli reprising his Jekyll & Hyde anthem, “This Is the Moment”; Iglehart delivering his Aladdin show-stopper, “Friend Like Me”; Peters offering two Stephen Sondheim gems, “Send in the Clowns” and “I Believe in You”; Henry, accompanying himself on guitar, singing “Tomorrow” and “Dear Theodosia”; Salonga, calling in from the Philippines to give a twist on Miss Saigon‘s “Why God, Why”; Hall singing rock-infused renditions of “Midnight Radio,” “Defying Gravity,” and “Alone,” and more.
Broadway Cares Executive Director Tom Viola told the virtual crowd, “RWQuarantunes has enabled Broadway Cares to do much more than we ever imagined we could when the pandemic forced Broadway and the theatre industry to shut down. Richard and Demi stepped forward as unexpected champions and allowed us to reach out to tens of thousands of people in the industry and millions more across the country. They will be a part of the Broadway Cares family forever.”
Broadway Cares supporters City National Bank and a quartet of Broadway producers—Elizabeth Armstrong, Rebecca Gold Milikowsky, Spencer Ross, and Barbara Whitman—matched $100,000 in donations during the stream. The Dream Alliance also matched $150,000 of donations and, in the night’s final hour, Phill Gross and Elizabeth Cochary Gross matched $250,000 in donations.
RWQuarantunes concerts have raised more than $23 million for 33 nonprofits nationwide, including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, the Equal Justice Initiative, and United Way Los Angeles.