An extravaganza of performing arts on Oct 10 World Mental Health Day

Award-winning actress Lorli Villanueva is one of the featured performers. Photo:

The International Mental Health Foundation is thrilled to announce its official launch on World Mental Health Day. With a mission of bringing awareness to mental health and disabilities through  the performing arts, IMHF is having a live in-person and online streaming extravaganza on October 10th, 9:30 p.m. from the Triad Theatre on 158 W. 72nd St., New York City.

The “Step Forward for Mental Health” variety show features international talents across genres, from musical numbers in song and dance, to acting, comedy, storytelling and inspirational speaking. It is a Step Forward Entertainment production with Robert R. Blume and Filipina American Pat Labez.

Among the featured entertainers are Lorli Villanueva,a 30+-year veteran actress, writer, director and producer in Philippine theater, TV, and film, who won Best Supporting Actress in 1972. She will share the stage with The Tres Rondalistas,a Philippine string instruments musical band.

John Easterlinis a four-time Grammy Award winner and opera star with global credits, including the Metropolitan and Sydney Opera Houses. He’s a master puppeteer, certified magician, and has made his Broadway debut in “The Phantom of the Opera.” Soara-Joye Ross is a multi-talented actress known for roles in Broadway hits like“Hadestown” and “Les Misérables.” She’s a Lucille Lortel Award winner, Drama Desk nominee, active in film and television and is currently performing in “A Little Night Music” with the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

Known as the “Mental health comedian”Frank King, former writer for “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno and other celebrity comedians like Jerry Seinfeld and Steve Harvey, brings his 37 years of industry experience and joins us from the West Coast to share the role of laughter and suicide prevention. He has also turned his own battles with depression into 11 TEDx Talks.

Many people are surprised to learn that Argentine tango has been linked to therapeutic effects on mental and physical health. See Iakof Shonsky,Argentine Tango Maestro, actor and choreographer. He’s the founder of  the Tango Academy Batumi and Tango Academy Tbilisi, both in the country of Georgia, as well as the founder of the New York Tango Academy.

Other stage, film, television, and cabaret artists are: Kea Chanwho has performed for international dignitaries and won multiple awards, including the Philippines’ 2022 Best Performing Artist Abroad;Marilyn Forward,actress and brain health/functional medicine coach and founder of Helping Heal Hearts; Adam Ross Glickman, aNYC-based singer, actor, and vocal coach with national tours like “The Sound of Music” and “Disney On Classic”in Japan; the Anthony-Emma-Shiloh Lewis family,a powerhouse in arts and entertainment with all three having been on stage and television shows.

Pat Labez of Step Forward Entertainment production

Also performing are Justin Senense,a proud gay Filipino American award-winning speaker, personal trainer, performer, storytelling coach, and co-founder of May I Be Kind social movement; Sal Sinatra,from finance to homelessness to writer, speaker, singer and actor with an online commercial sensation and upcoming feature films; Ronnie Tsunami,   multi-award-winning artist including “Single of the Year” at the Hawaii Music Awards and “Top Beach Band in North America” at the Rising Star Awards, he co-wrote the musical comedy “Mixed Nuts & Margaritas” with Frank King, showing at the Producers Club Grand Theatre in New York City on October 11th, and  Xiaoqing Zhang,an organizer for Tony Awards China and a musical theatre festival in Shanghai who’s also a VP of The World Chinese Culture and Arts Foundation and Artistic Director of Broadway China.

Musical Director Michael Lavinewill beon the piano. He is  also known as a Broadway vocal coach, collaborating with industry luminaries like Idina Menzel, Lea Michele, Sutton Foster, Matthew Morrison, and Kristin Chenoweth.

Guest speakers include mental health advocate and international speaker Dr. Marie Cosgrove, author of “Greater Fortune: Essential Lessons from the Entrepreneur Who Bought the Company that Fired Her.” Pro-golfer-turned-writer/actor Chris Fullerspeaks of his journey in living with bipolar disorder, the difficulties he experienced competing in tournaments with a mind racing out of control, and leading up to his upcoming world premiere residency production of “Cheese Fries and Chili Dips” at the Seven Angels Theatre in Waterbury, CT.

The world is grappling with a mental health epidemic that affects one in eight people globally, with staggering numbers upwards of 800 million people. There has been an increase in mental health conditions across the board from our youth to older adults, in the workplace to retirees, and recent studies have shown up to 50% of the world population will experience some form of mental health disorder in their lifetime.

The IMHF, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, aims to bring awareness to mental health challenges and disabilities through the performing arts. Tickets start at $25 for the live in-person event, $15 for online streaming. Visit

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