Broadway stars at New York City’s Edison Ballroom helped raised a record $250,000 to support the battle against pulmonary fibrosis (PF) in the 7th annual ‘Broadway Belts for PFF!’
To help boost funding for PF research, actress and dedicated Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) advocate Julie Halston hosted the benefit show, which featured Grammy and Tony award winners. Halston is recognized for her roles in the Broadway shows You Can’t Take it With You, The Babylon Line and Murder on the Orient Express.
‘Broadway Belts for PFF!’— now in its seventh year — donates all monies raised to PFF’s Michael Kuchwara Fund for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Research Education and Advocacy.
Halton and her husband Ralph Howard created the event to honor their friend Michael Kuchwara, an Associated Press theater critic who died of PF in 2010. Howard was also diagnosed with PF and underwent a lung transplant.
Performers at the on Feb. 27 event included Grammy-winner Stephanie Mills (The Wiz), Orfeh (Legally Blonde), Randy Graff (City Of Angels, The Babylon Line), Lucas Steele (Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812), NBC’s Gus Rosendale (Weekend Today in New York), Mandy Gonzalez (Hamilton, In The Heights), Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos, The Mystery Of Edwin Drood), Mario Cantone (The View) and Robert Creighton (Cagney).
The Broadway stars performed during an intimate evening of melody under the musical direction of Christopher McGovern and returning director Carl Andress, who has directed all seven of the Broadway Belts for PFF! performances. The event had Greg Santos as stage manager, and was produced by D. Michael Dvorchak, Sue Frost and Ed Windels.
“To say the show was a smash is an understatement. Our performers were so incredibly gracious and everyone brought the house down,” Halston said in a news release. “Ralph and I are grateful for the opportunity to promote awareness of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s important work in helping patients and funding research for a cure.”
The show proceeds help the PFF support its mission of finding a cure for PF, conducting research, engaging the PF community and acting as a trusted resource for all who are affected by the disease.
“Enhanced awareness and expanded research are vital to support those affected by pulmonary fibrosis and to continue to identify effective therapies,” said Gregory P. Cosgrove, MD, FCCP, chief medical officer at PFF. “We thank everyone involved in supporting our efforts and helping to make Broadway Belts For PFF! the success it has become.”