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EAST HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- While the American Ballet Theater is shut down due to COVID-19, they are instead bringing the magic of music to those who could truly use it.

Twice a week, the youngest patients at Mt. Sinai Hospital are taken from their hospital beds, from their pain and suffering, to the beautiful world of ballet.

For the last five weeks, ABT has been putting together two specials every week for the pediatric ward.

It's not a full-out ballet because those have been canceled during COVID, but the program features talks, small videos by the dancers and live performances by the musicians: Ballet 101 if you will.

Matt Dine is the principal oboist in the orchestra and the personnel manager.

"It's just great to make kids happy who are in the hospital," Dine said. "That's the last place anyone wants to be. If we can bring a little music and entertainment into their lives, that's just wonderful."

The summer series is in honor of Dr. Barry Webber, a surgeon at Mt. Sinai who died from COVID-19 in April.

He loved classical music and the ballet. In fact, his wife, a former dancer, is now a principal teacher ABT's children's division.

"He's living on through this program," said dance teacher Harriet Clark.

As doctors and nurses treat the patient's illness, ABT Heals is trying to lift spirits -- one pirouette at a time.

"Watching a ballet basically transports the viewer to another world," said Dr. Lisa Satlin.

The program was designed for the pediatric wing, but all patients and staff can enjoy the Zoom performance if they like. The hope is to bring the ballet to other hospitals as well.

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Movie Theater Chains Sue New Jersey Governor Over Closures

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Several national movie theater chains have filed a lawsuit against New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy over the Democrat’s decision to keep theaters closed as other public places are allowed to reopen while the state recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The suit filed Monday in federal court in Trenton alleges the failure to allow theaters to reopen while houses of worship and other public entities are allowed to constitutes a violation of the theaters’ rights to free speech, equal protection and due process.

Among those suing are AMC, Cinemark and Regal. They are seeking a restraining order to allow theaters to reopen. A spokesman for the National Association of Theatre Owners, also a plaintiff in the suit, said it is the first such court action brought as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Places of worship were allowed to resume indoor gatherings beginning last month, with restrictions on capacity and guidelines including the wearing of face coverings and maintaining social distancing.

Other venues including libraries, museums, aquariums, and public and private social clubs were allowed to reopen this month, but movie theaters, performing arts centers, gyms and fitness centers and indoor amusement and water parks continued to be barred from opening their indoor spaces, according to the suit.

The theater groups claim they have presented detailed safety plans to the state specifying how they would ensure the safety of patrons and employees.

“Rather than address these comprehensive safety proposals in any meaningful way, Defendants have chosen to continue to discriminate against movie theatres and to continue to require the closure of indoor movie theatres,” the suit claims. “The ostensible reason offered by Defendants is that there are other and virtual ways to watch movies. Defendants have not applied this rationale to the other places of public assembly that Defendants have permitted to reopen.”

In an email Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Murphy said the governor's office does not comment on pending litigation.

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Tags: New Jersey

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