Photo Coverage: embrace! Concert for the Matthew Shephard Foundation Soundcheck

February 18
11:22 AM 2005
On February 17th, Michele Helberg and Jamie McGonnigal presented a special one-night-only concert to benefit The Matthew Shepard Foundation. The Matthew Shepard Foundation, founded in December 1998 by Dennis and Judy Shepard, was established in memory of their 21-year old son, Matthew, who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime. The Foundation carries out Matthew's legacy by supporting educational projects, activities and documentaries that raise awareness of the issues involving discrimination and diversity. The Foundation's goal is to educate and replace hate with understanding, acceptance and compassion. Visit for more information.

embrace! will feature songs which celebrate diversity, inspiration and hope and all proceeds will benefit The Matthew Shepard Foundation in its mission to replace hate with understanding.

Click Here for Backstage and After-Party Photo Coverage

Kelli O'Hara

Tom Hewitt

Kate Pazakis

Max von Essen

Nikki Renee Daniels and Max von Essen singing a duet from Dorian

Nikki Renee Daniels

Nancy Anderson

Matthew Stocke

Randi Driscoll

Patrick Wilson

Marc Kudisch

Jai Rodriguez and Tina Maddigan

Emily Skinner

Darius de Haas

Jenny Giering

Adam Fleming

Bryan Batt

Laura Benanti

Linda Benanti, Laura's Mother and Renowned Voice Teacher...

...who made a rare stage appearance to duet with her daughter.

Running Order:

Act 1

Darius de Haas - Nature Boy
Bryan Batt - The Caveman Song
Adam Fleming - When the Earth Stopped Turning
Julia Murney - Baltimore
Max von Essen and Nikki Renee Daniels - Listen
Christine Rowan - Trip to the Library
Jenny Giering - The Light
Nancy Anderson - Love Me For What I Am
Matt Stocke - That's All
Laura and Linda Benanti - No One is Alone
Nikki Renee Daniels - Spark of Creation

Act 2
Randi Driscoll - Original Song
Marc Kudisch - Straight Man
Kelli O'Hara - How We Say Goodbye
Max von Essen - Leave
Kate Pazakis - Flying Home
Laura Benanti - The Waitress Song
Jai Rodriguez and Tina Maddigan - Grass is Always Greener
Emily Skinner - Will the Sun Ever Shine Again?
Patrick Wilson - Breeze Off the River
Tom Hewitt - Forgiveness' Embrace

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Robert Diamond The 2001 Syracuse University graduate (School of Information Studies) is also the owner of Wisdom Digital Media, an award-winning leading design company for entertainment and technology web sites. In his previous life, he held an executive position for the world's leading publisher of technology magazines, web sites and conferences and, as a result, was named among the "Top thirty magazine industry executives under the age of 30" by FOLIO Magazine.

Robert Diamond founded in 2003, which has now become the largest theatre web site in the world. He also serves as the site's Editor-in-Chief, covering Broadway and beyond, with specific local coverage for 100 cities in the United States, 35 countries worldwide and 15 other related areas of entertainment - including dance, opera, fashion, concerts, comedy, films, television and more. In May of 2014, the site was awarded a 2014 Award for Excellence in Theatre Arts Education by the prestigious Theatre Museum.

Diamond got his start in the entertainment field, accidentally, when he created the 'official web site' (while in college) for Michael Crawford, the popular actor and original Tony and Olivier Award-winning star of THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. (He still blames Crawford - and credits him - for anything that goes particularly right or wrong during an average day.)

As a respected member of the Broadway and theatre community, Diamond also served as Lead Producer for a series of sold-out shows using the 'brand' for a set of 'Standing Ovations' concerts, which also branched out into titles that included Holiday Shows and even more specific concerts like 'From Stage to Screen and Back Again' in tandem with publishers and movie studios. All proceeds were in turn donated to Broadway Cares / Equity Fights AIDS, the industry's leader in aid for performers in need.

Robert lives in Manhattan with his wife and two dogs, growing the business and getting little sleep. In addition, you can usually find him in a theatre many nights a week. Robert's very popular blog, 'The Broadway Pulse' appears daily on and he also wrote weekly about theatre for the USA Network's Character Approved blog.

In December of 2011, Diamond was one of 5 Syracuse University Alumni, all having achieved success in the world of start-ups, business growth and venture capital, participating on a panel addressing young alumni who are currently pursuing their dreams of running their own business and experiencing the day to day challenges of a startup. It is part of the university's new Student Accelerator Program, for which Rob was recommended by Syracuse University's i-School.

In late 2012, Wisdom Digital Media announced the official spinoff and launch of 10 new entertainment web sites including,,,,,,,, and

In January of 2013,, devoted to home entertainment, mobile technologies and social media launched as well, followed by and in April of 2013. In July of 2013, launched as a portal to the complete family of entertainment and lifestyle offerings.

In 2014, returned to the concert stage, with a series of benefit concerts featuring Broadway's brightest stars. A new partnership with Rock-it Science Records will record and release these special evenings, with proceeds benefiting various charities.


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