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Photos/Video by Shoshana Medney
Patti Murin, Jenny Laroche and Julie Gold joined New York Yankees legend and Latin Grammy-nominee, Bernie Williamsand his brother, Hiram Williams, appearing together for the first time at the event. The Williams brothers will perform an original song, “Para Don Berna,” in memory of their father, Bernabé Williams Figueroa Sr., who passed away from idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Also performing will be Robert Creighton (Broadway’s Frozen; Cagney, Fred Astaire Award-Winner), Ariana DeBose (Anita in the upcoming film version of West Side Story, Tony-nominee for Summer; Hamilton),Santino Fontana (Tony-nominee for Cinderella; Tootsie), Brad Oscar (Two-time Tony-nominee for Something Rotten andThe Producers), and Mary Testa (Upcoming: Oklahoma; Two-time Tony-nominee for On the Town and 42nd Street).
An annual sold-out event that is an exclusive New York musical theater experience, BROADWAY BELTS FOR PFF! features Broadway stars performing some of their favorite songs and original pieces. The benefit began as a tribute to Michael Kuchwara, Associated Press theater critic, who died suddenly of pulmonary fibrosis in 2010. Julie Halston, a founding partner of the event, is one of the PFF’s leading advocates nationwide and shines as the evening’s witty and dynamic host (Her Broadway credits include Hairspray, Gypsy, and You Can’t Take It With You and the upcoming Tootsie).
Ms. Halston’s motivation for participating in BROADWAY BELTS FOR PFF! is very personal as her husband, New York newscaster Ralph Howard, was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and received a life-extending lung transplant. Mr. Howard, a generous volunteer to both the PFF and many other organizations, engaged citizen in his community, and lover of all things New York succumbed to complications from the disease in August of last year.
The newly established Ralph Howard Legacy Award will recognize an individual or individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the pulmonary fibrosis community and embody Ralph’s mission of fostering and supporting talent through mentorship, opportunity, and education. The award recipient(s) will be announced at the event.
BROADWAY BELTS FOR PFF! is directed by Carl Andress (The Divine Sister) with Christopher McGovern (Cagney) as Musical Director, Ed Windels as Music Coordinator and Greg Santos as Stage Manager. The benefit is produced for the ninth straight year by D. Michael Dvorchak, Sue Frost (Memphis, Come From Away), Julie Halston and Ed Windels.