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BELTING FOR LIFE Premieres May 16 to Raise Funds Virtually For Howard Brown Health

Belting for Life features 30 award-winning musical theatre artists performing music theatre and pop songs.

BELTING FOR LIFE Premieres May 16 to Raise Funds Virtually For Howard Brown Health Jeff Award-winning director and HIV+ activist Christopher Pazdernik presents the 6th annual Belting for Life (formerly known as Chris' Birthday Belt Fest), an annual benefit concert for Howard Brown Health, one of the nation's largest LGBTQ organizations.

Belting for Life features 30 award-winning musical theatre artists performing music theatre and pop songs with music direction by Jeff-award winning music director Dr. Michael McBride.

Performers schedule to appear include: Missy Aguilar* (Paramount's In the Heights), Alli Atkenson (BoHo's Big Fish), Neala Barron (Jeff nominee, BoHo's 110 in the Shade), Ariana Burks (Steppenwolf's Dance Nation), Darilyn Burtley (Lyric Opera's Jesus Christ Superstar) Cynthia Carter (Black Ensemble Theatre's Women of Soul), Satya Chávez (Drama League nominee, Where Did We Sit on the Bus?), Katherine Condit (original Broadway cast, Chess), Courtney Freed(singer/songwriter; Theo Ubique's Man of LaMancha), Lucy Godínez* (Jeff nominee, Marriott's Oliver!), Devon Hayakawa (Best Supporting Performer 2020 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, Baked!), Angela Ingersoll (Emmy nominee, Get Happy: Angela Ingersoll Sings Judy Garland, on PBS & on tour), Callie Johnson (Jeff Award-winner, Porchlight's Pal Joey), Jacquelyne Jones (Jeff Award winner, Theo Ubique's Sweeney Todd), Christopher John Kelley (dancer - Chicago Repertory Ballet), Molly Kral* (Porchlight's Sophisticated

Ladies), Michelle Lauto* (Jeff Award winner, Spamilton), Donica Lynn (Jeff Award

winner, Porchlight's Dreamgirls), Emilie Lynn (world tour, The Phantom of the Opera), Ally Cañizares Merrill(Round Barn's Big River), Samantha Pauly (original Broadway cast, SIX), Amanda Petersen (Vintage Theatre's Songs for a New World), Sawyer Smith (Jeff nominee, Mercury's Pippin), Kyra Sorce (dancer - West Side StoryInternational tour), Ayana Strutz (dancer - The Spongebob Musical national tour), Tiffany T. Taylor (Marriott's Grease), Ariel Etana Triunfo (dancer - Drury Lane's American in Paris) and Honey West (Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame).

*denotes Planning Committee member (Performers subject to change.)

Pazdernik's journey with Howard Brown Health began in 2009, when he was diagnosed HIV+. He has been receiving his treatments at Chicago's LGBTQ+ community health center ever since and even served for four years on the Community Advisory Board. In 2015, Pazdernik was looking for a way to give back to Howard Brown Health and raise much needed funds for the organization. As a popular and respected member of Chicago's theater community, he asked his friends - who happen to be many of Chicago's leading talents - to donate their time and celebrate his birthday singing high-energy songs from musicals with 100% of the ticket proceeds going directly to Howard Brown Health and Chris' Birthday Belt Fest was born. Renamed in 2021 as Belting for Life, this special event concert has raised more than $10,000 for Howard Brown Health to date.

Belting for Life premieres on Sunday, May 16 at 6 p.m. CDT on HowardBrown.org and will be available through Monday, May 31.

This performance is suitable for all ages and runs approximately 100 minutes with no intermission. Tickets go on sale Saturday, May 1 and are available with a tax-deductible donation of $20 at HowardBrown.org. Follow @BeltingForLife on Instagram for the most up-to-date information.



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