Feb 24, 2015, 14:40 PM

For Media Inquiries:

Michelle Michael
Vice President, Marketing and Communications
Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation

Charlie Siedenburg

Julie Halston, Santino Fontana, Julia Murney, Randy Graff, Annaleigh Ashford, Erich Bergen, Robert Creighton, Zakiya Young and Betsy Wolfe at the fifth annual Broadway Belts for PFF!

NEW YORK, February 24, 2015 – Broadway’s finest appeared at the Birdland Jazz Club Monday night to raise funds for the fifth consecutive year to battle pulmonary fibrosis (PF), a devastating and relentlessly progressive disease involving scarring in the lungs. With no cure, many live only two to three years after diagnosis. In efforts to fund research toward a cure, award-winning actress and dedicated Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) advocate Julie Halston hosted Broadway Belts for PFF! Uniting some of Broadway’s best vocal talent, patrons and key members of the PF community, the sold-out event was a night of spectacular entertainment, which raised more than $150,000 to benefit the PFF.

Broadway stars showcased their belting talents during an intimate evening of melody under the musical direction of Christopher McGovern and returning director Carl Andress, who has directed all five of the Broadway Belts for PFF! performances. The star-studded cast included: Santino Fontana (Cinderella), Julia Murney (Wicked), Tony Award-winner Randy Graff (City of Angels), Annaleigh Ashford (Kinky Boots, You Can't Take It With You), Erich Bergen (Jersey Boys film, TV's Madam Secretary), Robert Creighton (The Mystery of Edwin Drood), Zakiya Young (Stick Fly, The Little Mermaid) and Betsy Wolfe (Bullets Over Broadway/The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Ms. Halston hosted the program for the fifth time with her incomparable humor and skillful narration. She most recently appeared in the hit Broadway show You Can’t Take it With You.

“We are incredibly grateful to our dear friends Julie Halston, D. Michael Dvorchak, Ed Windells, Trisha Henson and Sue Frost for the time and talent they put into this year’s event,” said Patti Tuomey, President and Chief Operating Officer, Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. “The show always features such amazing talent and in five years, has contributed more than $387,000 to the pulmonary fibrosis community. It’s this type of dedication and effort from the PF community that will help us fund research towards a cure for pulmonary fibrosis.”

Broadway Belts for PFF! began in 2011 as an evening to honor beloved Associated Press theater critic and reporter, Michael Kuchwara. During his 25-year tenure as a critic, Kuchwara’s reviews and coverage of North American theater were among the nation’s most widely read. In May 2010, Kuchwara passed away from complications due to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Broadway’s Julie Halston, friend of Kuchwara, became a leading spokesperson for the PFF after her husband, broadcaster Ralph Howard, received a lung transplant due to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis shortly after Kuchwara’s passing.

“I want everyone to know about the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation so that no one living with this terrible disease has to go through it alone,” Halston said. “My husband and I started this benefit five years ago to remember our friend Michael and we hope the awareness and money raised brings us closer to a cure.”

The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation would like to thank the 2015 Broadway Belts for PFF! Presenting Sponsors: the Doug and Gay Lane Charitable Foundation, Genentech, and The Steffy Family Foundation Fund; the Director’s Circle sponsors: the Daryl and Steven Roth Foundation, J. Todd Tullis in memory of Kathy Tullis, and the Erwin & Isabelle Ziegelman Foundation; the Broadway Partner sponsors: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Robert and Patricia Ross on Behalf of FARE; and our Ensemble Member sponsors: the Nederlander Organization. In addition, the Foundation would like to thank our Chorus Line sponsors: Jennifer A. Galvin, MD; Steve and Bev Hossa; IPF Patients PNW; Michelle Harmon-Madsen and Ken Madsen; Bruce T. Sloane; and Mary Halston and Bruce Sternemann.

All funds raised at Broadway Belts for PFF! will go toward the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation’s Michael Kuchwara Fund for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis Research, Education, and Advocacy.

For more information on the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, or to make a donation, please visit

About the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation
The mission of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) is to serve as the trusted resource for the pulmonary fibrosis (PF) community by raising awareness, providing disease education, advancing care and funding research. The PFF collaborates with physicians, organizations, people with PF and caregivers worldwide. The Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation has a four-star rating from Charity Navigator and is a Better Business Bureau accredited charity. The PFF’s Summit 2015: From Bench to Bedside, its third biennial international health care conference, will be held November 12-14, 2015 in Washington, D.C. For more information visit or call 844.TalkPFF (844.825.5733) or +1 312.587.9272 from outside of the U.S.

About Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a condition in which, over a period of time, lung tissue becomes thickened, stiff and scarred. The development of the scar tissue is called fibrosis. As the lung tissue becomes scarred and grows thicker, the lungs lose their ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream. As a result, the brain and other organs don’t receive enough oxygen. In some cases, doctors can determine the cause of the fibrosis, but in many cases, there is no known cause. When the cause of the fibrosis is unknown (and certain pathologic or radiographic criteria are met), the disease is called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF. There is no cure for IPF. Presently, there are two FDA-approved treatments for IPF in the U.S.

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The cast of Broadway Belts for PFF! 2015 and Ralph Howard.
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