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embrace! Concert, with Jackson, Days, Diaz and More, Held Feb. 16

On February 16th at 7:00 pm, Michele Helberg and Jamie McGonnigal will present the 3rd Annual embrace! concert to benefit The Matthew Shepard Foundation. The concert will take place at the Westside Theatre (407 West 43rd Street, between 9th and 10th Avenues), the current home of the long-running off-Broadway hit, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.

Scheduled to perform this year are Dean Armstrong (Queer as Folk, Rent), Will Chase (Rent, Lennon), Mary Bond Davis (Hairspray), Maya Days (Rent), Natascia Diaz (Man of La Mancha, ROOMS), Max von Essen (The Baker's Wife, Dance of the Vampires), Darius de Haas (Marie Christine), Cheyenne Jackson (All Shook Up), Capathia Jenkins (Caroline, or Change), Tony Vincent (Rent, Superstar), Jason Wooten (Dance of the Vampires) and several others. Broadway favorite Seth Rudetsky will host. embrace! will be directed by Jamie McGonnigal, Artistic Producer of the World AIDS Day Concerts of The Secret Garden, Pippin and Children of Eden, and music directed by Avenue Q conductor, Mark Hartman. The sponsors are Next Magazine, Remy, ECRU, PaperWords.com, and Albatross Bar.

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.

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. Last year's concert raised thousands for the foundation and spawned embrace! concerts in several other cities around the country.

Tickets may be ordered online at www.MatthewShepard.org or by calling 646-289-6864. All seats are $50, ($100 to include after party passes).

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