Announcing the 3rd Annual CHRIS' BIRTHDAY BELT FEST: Duets Edition!

Jeff Award-nominee and HIV+ director/producer Christopher Pazdernik is pleased to announce the 3rd annual CHRIS' BIRTHDAY BELT FEST, a benefit concert for Howard Brown Health on Monday, May 15 at 8 pm at Uptown Underground, 4707 N. Broadway in Chicago. Featuring 40 award-winning musical theater performers from across Chicago and musical direction by Aaron Benham, this year's benefit will feature a record number of performers and a brand new theme: Duets! Tickets, priced at $25, are currently available at or by calling (773) 867-1946. Uptown Underground is a 21+ venue; advance reservations strongly recommended.

In 2015, director/producer Christopher Pazdernik, Artistic Director of Refuge Theatre Project, was looking for a way to give back to Howard Brown Health, where he has received his medical care since being diagnosed HIV+ in 2009. With his network of musical theater performers in Chicago, he launched Chris' Birthday Belt Fest. The inaugural concert featured 16 performers, sold out The Cab at Stage 773, and raised $500 to benefit Howard Brown. For the 2016 edition, the concert moved to Uptown Underground, expanded to 30 singers in celebration of Pazdernik's 30th birthday and raised over $1,500. This year's event with will feature a record number of performers and a brand new theme!

Once again, performers from Chicago's top theaters, including numerous Jeff Award winners and nominees, will join together to belt for a cause! The line-up currently includes Missy Aguilar (ATC's Xanadu), Caleb Baze (Porchlight's Dreamgirls), Elya Faye Bottiger (Porchlight Revisits Applause), Becca Brown (The Hypocrites' American Idiot), Kyrie Courter (Porchlight's Dreamgirls), Vasily Deris (Refuge Theatre Project's High Fidelity), Landree Fleming (Paramount's Hairspray), Kate Garassino (Mercury's Avenue Q), Veronica Garza (Kokandy's Heathers), Jacob Gilchrist (Porchlight Revisits Applause), Lucy Godinez (Porchlight's In the Heights), Sophie Grimm (Paramount's Les Miserables), Kristin Hopkins (Improvised Sondheim Project), Angela Ingersoll (Judy Garland in Porchlight's End of the Rainbow), Callie Johnson (Drury Lane's Next to Normal), Jacquelyne Jones (Theo's Honky Tony Angels), Molly Kral (BoHo's Urinetown), Michelle Lauto (Prochlight's In the Heights), Donica Lynn (Porchlight's Dreamgirls), Courtney Mack (BoHo's Urinetown), PatRick Martin (Writer Theatre's Company), Lauren Paris (Pride Films & Plays Priscilla), Darren Patin (Kokandy's The Wiz), Camille Robinson (Victory Gardens' Wonder in My Soul), Natalie Rosenbaum, Laura Savage (Paramount's 42nd Street), Andrew Sickel (Kokandy's Heathers), Bethany Thomas (Porchlight's Marry Me a Little), Colette Todd (Theatre at the Center's Big Fish), Janelle Villas (Porchlight Revisits Applause), and Wisconsin actress Amanda Petersen Fails, one of Christopher's life-long best friends singing with her sister Larissa Petersen. Additional performers to be announced!

About Howard Brown Health
Founded in 1974, Howard Brown Health is one of the nation's largest health care and research organizations, primarily serving the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) community and its allies. It is the largest such organization in the Midwest and serves adults youth and children throughout the region. An innovative and patient-centered health home, Howard Brown provides primary medical care, behavioral health services, and specialty chronic and infectious disease services, and conducts nationally-renowned clinical and behavioral research.

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