Benanti, Busch, Esparza, et al. to Perform in Benefit for Matthew Shepard Foundation
Laura Benanti (Nine), Hinton Battle (Miss Saigon), Anne Runolfsson (Victor/Victoria), Marla Schaffel (Jane Eyre), Max von Essen (Dance of the Vampires), Raúl Esparza (Taboo), Kate Shindle (Cabaret), Michael Arden (Big River), Janet Metz (Falsettos), Sriram Ganesan (Bombay Dreams), Andrew Lippa (composer of The Wild Party), and Randi Driscoll (whose benefit single "What Matters" has raised over $30,000 for the Matthew Shepard Foundation) are among those scheduled to perform in the concert. In addition, cast members from Fame on 42nd Street, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, and Naked Boys Singing will be on hand.
Hosted by Charles Busch, Embrace! will feature songs of inspiration and hope. It will be directed by Jamie McGonnigal, who put together the recent Children of Eden concert for World AIDS Day; Matt Eisenstein will serve as musical director. All proceeds will go to support The Matthew Shepard Foundation and its educational projects, including the creation of a national youth outreach website and resource program. This is the first major New York theatrical event to benefit the foundation.