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Broadway Lights May Be Dark, But Stars Still Light Up Covenant House's Virtual 'Sleep Out'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The lights of Broadway have been dim during the coronavirus pandemic.

But as CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Wednesday, the theatre creative community is shining bright for one of its favorite good causes -- helping homeless teenagers.

"We've all been out of work since March. It's very scary. We don't know when we're going to get another paycheck," said Jeff Calhoun.

Calhoun, a two-time Tony nominee, says with thousands of theater folks unemployed and scrambling to survive, times could not be tougher on Broadway.

He could not be prouder of how the creative community has rallied to help Covenant House, a shelter for homeless and troubled young people on 10th Avenue, in Broadway's backyard.

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"You meet some of our youth experiencing homelessness, and if it doesn't move you or touch you, you just have ice running through your veins," Calhoun said.

For years, the Broadway community has raised money for the shelter's annual "Sleep Out" event. This year, it went virtual, and the creative community pitched in, as usual.

Broadway icon Audra McDonald was among those who helped raise $10 million for Covenant Houses in six countries.

"People really are coming out of the woodwork, and I know what you're saying, you'd think they'd want to just bury their head and go in and hibernate, but that's not the DNA of artists," Calhoun said.

FLASHBACK: Homeless Advocates Host 'Sleep Out' At City Hall

In New York, Covenant House had to create a COVID unit, where almost 20 residents have recovered from the virus.

Executive Director Sister Nancy Downing said support from the Broadway community has been a blessing.

"It's just very uplifting to know that folks who are suffering their own challenges are there to help and support those of us who are trying to uplift young people," she said.

It's a creative community of light and hope while theaters are dark.


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