The History of Broadway Belts for PFF!

Broadway Belts for PFF! began as Songs For Mike: A Benefit Evening Honoring Michael Kuchwara–an evening of Broadway in honor of beloved Associated Press theater critic, Michael Kuchwara. Michael Kuchwara passed away from complications due to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in May of 2010. The event was on Monday, February 28, 2011, at the Birdland Jazz Club in New York City.

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Michael Kuchwara

Songs for Mike was the brainchild of five friends: Julie Halston, Sue Frost, D. Michael Dvorchak, Ed Windels, and Charlie Siedenburg. They planned an amazing evening featuring Broadway's best, singing Michael's all time favorites, to honor their friend.

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D. Michael Dvorchak, Sue Frost, Ed Windels, and Charlie Siedenburg | Photo by Chris Owyoung

IPF is a rare disease the affects approximately 200,000 people in the United States. Most people have never heard of the disease until someone in there life is diagnosed. Julie Halston and her friend's were already intimately aware of IPF when they heard about their friend's diagnosis. Julie's husband, Howard 100 News broadcaster Ralph Howard, had a single lung transplant for the disease just prior to Michael's passing.

Watch Broadway Belts for PFF! founder Julie Halston, and husband Ralph Howard, talk about pulmonary fibrosis on Lifetime's The Balancing Act.

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Julie Halston and Ralph Howard | Photo by Chris Owyoung

Read More About Songs for Mike

The dynamic force of friends behind Songs for Mike knew that the show must continue to go on to honor their friend's memory and to raise awareness about pulmonary fibrosis until it is a household name. For that reason, the event was renamed to Broadway Belts for PFF! in 2012. Proceeds raised benefit the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s Michael Kuchwara Fund for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Research, Education, and Advocacy.

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Photo by Chris Owyoung

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