Chris' Birthday Belt Fest Returns To Raise Money For Howard Brown Center
Jeff Award-winning director and HIV+ activist Christopher Pazdernik presents the 5th installment of Chris' Birthday Belt Fest, an annual benefit concert for Howard Brown Health, Monday, May 13 at 8 p.m. at Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.Tickets are $30, in advance; $40, at the door on the night of the performance, and are available at GreenHouseTheater.org or by calling 773.404.7336. The performance is suitable for all ages and runs two hours with one intermission.
Chris' Birthday Belt Fest features more than 20 award-winning musical theater performers, singing both well-loved and obscure show tunes, with musical direction by Jeff Award-nominee Jermaine Hill (Porchlight Music Theatre's Memphis), hosted by Jeff Award-winner Veronica Garza (Kokandy's Heathers) who will also be performing, and additional performances by Missy Aguilar (Porchlight's In The Heights), Liz Bollar (Refuge Theatre Project's The Last Session), Darilyn Burtley (Lyric's Jesus Christ Superstar), Rashada Dawan (Firebrand's Caroline or Change), Lucy Godinez (Marriott's Footloose), Amanda Fails (Riverside Players' Footloose), Sophie Grimm (Writers Theatre's Trevor), Nicole Michelle Haskins (Piven's Hopelessly Devoted), Angela Ingersoll (Jeff Award-winner, Porchlight's End of the Rainbow), Callie Johnson (Drury Lane's Next to Normal), Jacquelyne Jones (Paramount's Legally Blonde), Molly Kral (Refuge Theatre Project's Hands on a Hard Body), Michelle Lauto (Jeff Award-winner, Spamilton), Donica Lynn (Jeff Award-winner, Porchlight's Dreamgirls), Christine Mild (About Face's Loving Repeating), Samantha Pauly (Chicago Shakespeare's Six), Sara Reinecke (Paramount's Mamma Mia), Aalon Smith (Porchlight's A Chorus Line), Honey West (Porchlight's Gypsy) and Missy Wise (BoHo's Bright Star). 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 health and wellness center ever since and has even become the Community Advisory board chairperson. 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. Since its inception five years ago, Belt Fest has raised more than $7,500 for Howard Brown and this year at its new location, the Greenhouse Theatre Center, will be the largest venue to host Belt Fest.