Mandy Gonzalez and More Join Julie Halston for 2017 BROADWAY BELTS FOR PFF!
Hosted by the one-and-only actress/comedienne Julie Halston, BROADWAY BELTS FOR PFF! will celebrate its seventh annual benefit, featuring Broadway stars in an evening of music and comedy benefitting the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation.
This year's event will take place on Monday, February 27 at 5:30 pm at the Edison Ballroom (240 West 47th Street) in New York City. Tickets are $300 for premium seating or $100 for general seating, and can be purchased online.
An annual sold-out event that is an exclusive New York musical theater experience, BROADWAY BELTS FOR PFF! began in 2010 by one of PFF's leading advocates nationwide, the beloved Broadway actress and comedienne Julie Halston (The Babylon Line, Gypsy, You Can't Take It With You). This year's concert will feature performances by award-winning performers including Tony-nominee Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos, The Mystery of Edwin Drood), MAndy Gonzalez (Hamilton), Mario Cantone ("The View"), Robert Creighton (CAGNEY), Randy Graff (City of Angels, The Babylon Line), and more to be announced.
Ms. Halston, one of New York's preeminent emcees, will preside over the event, adding her own unique comedy stylings throughout the evening which raises money to fight Pulmonary Fibrosis, an unforgiving, progressive disease involving scarring in the lungs. With no cure, many live only two or three years after diagnosis. There is no known cure for PF.
This one-of-a-kind evening of Broadway stars performing some of their favorite songs began as a tribute to Michael Kuchwara, the beloved Broadway theater critic of the Associated Press, who died suddenly of pulmonary fibrosis in 2010. Coincidentally, Ms. Halston's husband, the venerated newscaster Ralph Howard, himself was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis a short time later, eventually receiving a lung transplant. People of note who have died from PF include Robert Goulet, Marlon Brando, Evil Knievel, Peter Benchley, John Palmer, James Doohan and numerous First Responders at the World Trade Center on September 11.
To date, BROADWAY BELTS FOR PFF! has raised nearly $500,000 for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, and is the largest single fundraiser for the organization, based in Chicago.
"What started out as a heartfelt tribute to the legacy of Associated Press theater critic Michael Kuchwara, has grown into a major fundraising initiative for the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, helping to raise awareness, promote research and help those suffering with pulmonary fibrosis," said Patti Tuomey, EdD, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, "We are thrilled that Julie and the Broadway community continue to support our mission in such a positive and entertaining way."
Ms. Halston notes that while pulmonary fibrosis is a growing health concern throughout the world, and while the disease is frequently misdiagnosed, two leading pharmaceutical companies are making considerable progress in developing drugs that may not provide a cure for pulmonary fibrosis, but have shown success in slowing the growth of the disease.
"Watching my husband struggle to breathe was a poignant reminder of never taking for granted this most basic of functions. Can you imagine not being able to breath? That's what we are fighting for and why this evening filled with Broadway's best belting to the rafters is so important to me. The leap in treatment since 2010 has been astounding, but much needs to be done until there is a cure" says Ms. Halston.
Currently starring at Lincoln Center in the new Richard Greenberg play The Babylon Line, Julie Halston has appeared in several Broadway shows including a memorable turn in the recent revival of You Can't Take It With You starring James Earl Jones and with Bernadette Peters in Gypsy. She is best known for her cabaret and solo performances, her memorable turn as Bitsy Von Muffling in "Sex And The City," and her legendary starring roles opposite actor/playwright Charles Busch.
BELTS FOR PFF! is directed by Carl Andress (The Divine Sister) with Christopher McGovern (Cagney) as Musical Director and music supervision by Ed Windels. The benefit is produced for the seventh straight year by D. Michael Dvorchak, Sue Frost (Memphis, Come From Away), Julie Halston and Ed Windels.
For more information about the event or for current sponsorship opportunities, visit at bit.ly/bb4pff17.
The mission of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation is to mobilize people and resources to provide access to high quality care and leads research for a cure so people with pulmonary fibrosis will live longer, healthier lives. For more information, visit www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride
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