Bernadette Peters Joins Other Broadway Stars for 10th Annual PFF Fundraiser

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by Mary Chapman |

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Broadway Belts For PFF!

Veteran entertainer and Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters will headline the 10th annual “Broadway Belts for PFF!” event to raise funds to fight pulmonary fibrosis (PF).

Set for Feb. 24 in New York City, the star-studded evening of music, comedy, and performance is the single-largest fundraiser for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF)’s research and patient programs. The event last year raised more than $410,000.

The production will be hosted again by Julie Halston of Broadway’s Tootsie, Hairspray, Gypsy, and You Can’t Take It With You. Tony nominee Charles Busch, who performed in The Confession of Lily Dare, The Divine Sister, and Broadway’s The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, and Tony winner Annaleigh Ashford, star of Broadway’s Sunday in the Park With George, are among the performers.

Other stars include J. Harrison Ghee, of Broadway’s Kinky Boots, Jason Gotay, who performed in Evita, Tony nominee Beth Malone, who starred in Broadway’s Angels in America and Fun Home, and Sierra Boggess, of the musical adaptation School of Rock and Broadway’s It Shoulda Been You.

Peters has starred in Follies, A Little Night Music, and Hello, Dolly! 

Also performing will be New York Yankees legend and Latin Grammy-nominated artist Bernie Williams, a longtime PFF supporter and patient advocate whose father died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

“For ten years, Broadway’s exceptionally talented and generous performers have shared their greatest hits on stage to benefit the pulmonary fibrosis community,” William T. Schmidt, PFF president and CEO, said in a press release.

“With Julie Halston at the helm since day one, Broadway Belts for PFF! has become one of the PFF’s most anticipated fundraising events. It not only raises much-needed funds for programs and research, but it also provides hope and inspiration to patients everywhere,” Schmidt said.

Directed by Carl Andress as musical director, Broadway Belts for PFF! began as a way to honor Associated Press theater critic Michael Kuchwara, who died from PF in 2010. The event was founded by Halston and her husband, newscaster Ralph Howard, who was later diagnosed with PF and died in 2018.

Established last year, the Ralph Howard Legacy Award will go to 12-time Tony-winning producer Daryl Roth, whose credits include more than 120 on- and off-Broadway shows. She’s also a mentor and longtime PFF supporter.

“Daryl is one of the most respected and beloved people in the Broadway community,” said Halston. “Her taste in theater is second only to her generous spirit. She has been a dear friend and staunch supporter of the PFF since we started, and I can think of no better person to receive the Ralph Howard Legacy Award.”

Registration for the event ends Feb. 19. Tickets are $400 for upper balcony seating (one admission), and $1,000 for main floor seating (two admissions). They include hors-d’oeuvres in a cocktail reception, a multi-course dinner, seating for the show, an open bar, and an invitation to the post-event party. Sponsorships range from $500 to $50,000. For more information, contact Jackie Williams at [email protected] or 312-224-4667.

The PFF funds research on the disease, and supports patients and caregivers through resources and community programs, such as the PFF Ambassador Program, PFF Summit, and the PFF Patient Registry.

Estimates indicate that more than 200,000 U.S. residents have PF, with about 50,000 new cases diagnosed annually.