Option Up!, the acclaimed musical theater cabaret and talk-show, celebrates co-host Christopher Pazdernik’s birthday with Chris’ Birthday Belt-Fest, a concert to benefit Howard Brown Health Center on Sunday, May 10 at 7:30 in The Cab at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago. Featuring award-winning musical theater performers from across Chicago, the evening will be music directed by co-host Aaron Benham. Tickets are $10 and available by calling 773.327.5252 or by visiting www.stage773.com.
In February 2014, Jeff Award and Broadway World Award nominees Christopher Pazdernik and Aaron Benham teamed up to create a unique event for the Chicago musical theater scene. A new show is performed one night each month, featuring both performances and interviews with guest musical theater performers alongside musical theater analysis and trivia. Over the past year, Option Up! has been featured in publications ranging from New City Stage to Glossed & Found, as well as a special mention from renowned theatre historian Peter Filichia.
For the May 10 edition, leading ladies from every theater in town will join together to belt for a good cause, Howard Brown Health Center, in honor of HBHC’s medical care for Christopher since he was diagnosed HIV+ in 2009. Currently schedule to perform are multiple Jeff Award nominee Heidi Kettenring (Wicked in Chicago), Drama Desk nominee Marya Grandy (Broadway’s Les Miserables and off-Broadway’s The Great American Trailer Park Musical) and Jeff Award winner Alexis J. Rogers (Court Theater’s Porgy and Bess; Porchlight’s Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill) as well as Jeff Award nominee Charissa Armon (Porchlight’s Ragtime), Neala Barron (Griffin’s Titanic), Lillie Cummings (Paramount’s Les Miserables), Jeff nominee Landree Fleming (Drury Lane’s Spelling Bee), Kristen Freilich (Second City’s Jewsical!), Jeff Award nominee Angela Ingersoll (Chicago Shakespeare’s Merry Wives of Windsor), Jessica Kingsdale (Paramount’s Grease), Molly Kral (Paramount’s Cats), Jeff Award winner Elizabeth Lanza (Marriott’s South Pacific; Chicago Shakespeare’s Sunday in the Park with George), Samantha Pauly (Marriott’s Godspell), Lauren Paris (Piven’s Melancholy Play), Jeff Award nominee Laura Savage (Porchlight’s Pal Joey), and Wisconsin actress Amanda Petersen Fails, one of Christopher’s life-long best friends. More performers to be announced shortly! (Line-up subject to change.)
About Howard Brown Health Center
Founded in 1974, Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) 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, HBHC provides primary medical care, behavioral health services, and specialty chronic and infectious disease services, and conducts nationally-renowned clinical and behavioral research.
About the Hosts
Previous collaborations between Pazdernik and Benham include four hit cabaret revues at Davenport’s: It’s an Art: the Songs of Stephen Schwartz; Nobody’s Side: Broadway’s Cult Classics (Vol. I); Un-Type Cast; and Carol and Patti: Together Again for the First Time. They also worked together on Anyone Can Whistle and City of Angels for Porchlight Revists—Porchlight Music Theater’s staged concert series of lost Broadway musicals.
Option Up: Chris’ Birthday Belt-Fest performs one night only on Sunday, May 10, 7:30 PM, at Stage 773—The Cab, 1225 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago. Cover charge is $10. Cash bar is available one hour before and after the performance. Tickets are available by calling 773.327.5252 or by visiting www.stage773.com.