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Neil Simon-based play to raise funds for MS 67

In an effort to raise money for its new home at the Louis Pasteur Middle School 67 in Little Neck, the Baker’s Repertory Theatre Company kicks off its season with “Simply Simon” on Friday, Oct. 19.

The play, an original piece, combines some of the best loved scenes by America’s most prolific playwright, Neil Simon, with biographical background and anecdotes about him into one show.

“For any Simon fan — and who isn’t? — it should prove an entertaining and illuminating show,” said Lon Blais, the group’s artistic director and an English and drama teacher at the school.

The show will include scenes from “Barefoot in the Park,” “The Odd Couple,” “The Sunshine Boys,” “Brighton Beach Trilogy” and more.

Blais, a Bayside resident, runs the company with his wife Joanna, a former guidance counselor in District 26, which stretches from Little Neck to Glen Oaks and from Bayside to Douglaston.

The theater group had been based in a Valley Stream, L.I. church for the last five years, but there was a change in the church administration and the two parted ways amicably.

“When the opportunity to relocate to MS 67 presented itself, the group did so enthusiastically as the Little Neck and Douglaston area has a respected history of supporting the arts,” Blais said. “It is a really great move because the area is very amenable to the theater.”

The company will take over the school’s chorus room and turn it into a small intimate theater with 90 to 100 seats, he said.

Blais said the production will help to raise funds for the school, which are especially needed in the midst of the city Board of Education’s budget cuts. The school’s Parent Teacher Association, which is sponsoring the company’s residence, will share in the proceeds.

The company also helped to raise funds for the school in 1997 when it mounted a production of Arthur Miller’s classic play, “The Crucible.”

“We are looking forward to setting up and becoming established in the area,” Blais said.

The group will present two more productions this season: “Better than Broadway,” a cabaret evening in the winter, and “Denial,” a drama of the First Amendment vs. the Holocaust revisionist movement, in the spring.

The Baker’s Repertory Theatre Company will perform “Simply Simon” at the Louis Pasteur Middle School 67 at 56-60 Marathon Parkway in Little Neck on Oct. 19, 20, 21, 26 27 28, Nov. 2, 3, and 4. For curtain times, directions to the school and tickets, call 229-6068.

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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