It’s No. 13 for ‘Broadway Belts for PFF!’ on March 6

Annual event is top fundraiser for Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

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by Mary Chapman |

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The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) is set to present the 13th edition of “Broadway Belts for PFF!” — an annual glitzy affair that has become the nonprofit’s single-largest fundraiser — on March 6.

The gala, which also seeks to heighten awareness of pulmonary fibrosis (PF), will take place in New York City at Sony Hall, a new event venue. It again will feature an assemblage of Broadway stars and other notable members of the entertainment industry for an evening of music, levity, and performance.

Returning as the fundraiser’s host is actress and comedienne Julie Halston, who was awarded the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award in 2021 for her PFF fundraising efforts. That year, she also appeared in the off-Broadway production of “Fairycakes.”

“We are extremely grateful to the Broadway community for generously sharing their incredible talents to help people living with pulmonary fibrosis,” Halston said in a press release. “For one evening each year, Broadway Belts for PFF! not only raises funds and awareness, but it also sparks hope in everyone battling this devastating disease.”

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This year’s soiree may be attended in-person or via livestream. For in-person guests, the event will include a cocktail reception, a three-course dinner, an open bar, and a post-performance party. Only a handful of tickets are available.

Virtual attendees can again expect an interactive experience that will include a cocktail mixology class about mocktail and cocktail versions of Broadway-themed drinks. The program will be followed by live-streamed Broadway Belts performances.

Event participants will include Kate Baldwin, a Tony Award nominee for “Hello, Dolly!” and “Finian’s Rainbow,” and Julie Benko of “Funny Girl,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “Les Misérables.” Also appearing will be Emily Bergl of “Good Night, Oscar,” “The Ferryman,” and “Desperate Housewives.”

Other participating Broadway performers are Kevin Del Aguila of “Some Like it Hot,” “Frozen,” and “Peter and the Starcatcher,” plus Raena White of “Some Like it Hot,” and “Chicago.” Additional cast members are expected to be announced soon.

For one evening each year, Broadway Belts for PFF! not only raises funds and awareness, but it also sparks hope in everyone battling this devastating disease.

Broadway actor Robert Creighton will receive the Ralph Howard Legacy Award for PF advocacy and his longtime support of “Broadway Belts for PFF!” Last year, he and Halston, a longtime stage actress who appeared in “Gossip Girl” and “Tootsie,” among other productions, raised a record $138,000 during the fundraiser’s live auction. Creighton’s mother, Joan, died from PF at age 59.

The Howard award is named for Halston’s husband, who died in 2018 after being diagnosed with PF in 2008. Howard, who had undergone a lung transplant, had been a longtime New York-area broadcaster.

He and Halston established the fundraiser in 2010 to honor Associated Press theater critic Michael Kuchwara, who died in 2010 from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

“We are ecstatic to debut “Broadway Belts for PFF!” in our new venue, Sony Hall,” said William T. Schmidt, PFF’s president and CEO. “With our cast of renowned Broadway performers and generous donors nationwide, this year’s event promises to be our best yet.”

Tickets are $50 each for the virtual event, and $1,000 for individual main floor seats. Sponsorships also are available. COVID-19 protocols will be in place for in-person attendees.

To date, Broadway Belts for PFF! has raised nearly $3 million to support PF research and the 250,000 Americans thought to live with the disorder.

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