Major League Baseball greats came together at the playhouse to raise awareness about IPF

Bernie Williams’ team won, 21-6! That won’t surprise fans of the former Yankees star, but it should be welcome news for sufferers of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis: The friendly softball game and evening concert played by Williams and his All-Star Band at Ciuccoli Field and The Ridgefield Playhouse Saturday, July 29, in Ridgefield, Conn., was held to raise awareness about IPF, a respiratory illness.

The game also raised funds for the Playhouse’s “Arts for Everyone” initiative in a daylong event sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim, a pharmaceutical company that creates treatments for IPF. The match between Team Williams – including former Yankees Mariano Rivera, David Cone, Carlos Pena and Bobby Valentine, with members of the MLB Network and ballplayers from the Danbury (Conn.) Westerners – and Team Ridgefield Playhouse represented the opening pitch on a day of benefit activities that included a concert by Williams and his All-Star Band, a silent auction of signed memorabilia, an original piece of artwork of Bernie Williams painted live in the lobby throughout the show, an art show and other special events. The concert, a Moffly Media Evening of Art Wine and Jazz, was also supported by the Donofrio Family, Gallo Restaurant and Tiger’s Den.

The game got underway with 200 people of all ages in the stands, ready for a sunny, family afternoon of good-natured rivalry and comic commentary by the Giants Super Bowl MVP Otis Andersen and WHUD morning DJ Mike Bennett,. As the batters swung and ran bases, Playhouse staff held a raffle that brought excited members of the crowd up to the fence to receive Bernie Williams Lego figures and autographed baseballs. After the game, hundreds enjoyed an Italian wine-tasting courtesy of Ridgefield’s Gallo Ristorante and an art exhibit by Andres Chapparo in the Playhouse lobby. Then they settled in for Boehringer Ingelheim’s “Concert for IPF,” a jazz performance by Williams and his band – the perfect conclusion to a home-run of a day!

Other upcoming Evenings of Art Wine and Jazz include Chris Botti on Aug. 20, Lizz Wright and Grace Kelley on Sept. 16, Sergio Mendes on Oct. 17, and more. For more information, go to or call (203) 438-5795. The Ridgefield Playhouse is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit performing-arts center located at 80 East Ridge Rd, Ridgefield, CT.