Comedy for a cause


The Valley Stream courtroom will be transformed into a theater this weekend, with a two-day production that will raise money for breast cancer support groups.

MCAP Productions will present “Average Perfection,” a revival of a play last performed in 2006. It was written and is being directed by John Blenn, a performing arts consultant with the village. There will be a Saturday evening performance followed by a Sunday matinee.

The story is about a pair of down-on-their-luck guys who are out of work and create a fake beauty pageant to come up with some quick cash. In the end, they learn about themselves. “They make every mistake in the book you can make in putting on a beauty contest,” Blenn said.

Money raised at the Saturday night performance will benefit Bosom Buddies, based in Bayside, Queens. The organization raises money for the American Cancer Society. It was started by Darcy Novick, a breast cancer survivor who was first diagnosed in December 2010.

Bosom Buddies has raised nearly $100,000 since it was founded three years ago, and Novick has a yearly fundraising goal of $30,000. “Every little event that I do just adds to the pile,” she said. “I just feel that drive to give back.”

Novick, a former manager of the East Side Comedy Club and producer of the Long Island Comedy Fest, has known Blenn for several years and they decided to get together to do the fundraiser. “I’m all about bringing awareness with a touch of comedy,” she said.

Proceeds from Sunday’s show will benefit 1-in-9: the Long Island Breast Cancer Action Coalition. The organization runs the Hewlett House, a non-profit resource center for women battling cancer.

Blenn said for a breast cancer fundraiser, “Average Perfection” was the perfect play to choose. “It has a very heavy female aspect to it,” he said. “We thought that this was one of the better things in our catalog for an audience that will probably be more female than male.”

The cast includes two women from Valley Stream, Sophia Soler and Jade Raad. This is Raad’s second production with Blenn. In “Average Perfection,” she will be playing Gwendolyn, a contestant in the beauty pageant who is just happy to be there.

Raad said she is looking forward to being on stage again, after debuting in a production of “American Dating Catastrophes.”

“It was really fun the last time,” she said, “and many of the other actors and actresses performed in the last play I was in, so I’m excited to be working with them again and also to be working with new people who I’ve seen in other plays they have put on.”

Raad added that she is excited to be part of a production that will benefit two important organizations. “It’s nice to think that we’re not only acting and making people laugh, which is what I love,” she said, “but we’re also helping a good cause, too, and that’s pretty awesome.”

For Blenn, this fundraiser has a personal connection, as his mother survived breast cancer. She died 13 years ago from other causes, but Blenn credits the mastectomy she had with giving her another chance at life.

“Average Perfection” will close out MCAP’s 20th theater season. Cast members, who live in Queens, Islip and many towns in between, have been rehearsing for several weeks at a church in East Meadow.

There are 19 cast members in the play, and only two are holdovers from the show’s 2006 performance at the Dix Hills Performing Arts Center. Blenn said the audience should expect to be laughing from start to finish.

This is Blenn’s fifth production in the Village Hall courtroom. Previous performances were used to raise money for the courtroom’s eventual conversion into a theater. That will take place once the courthouse moves to Rockaway Avenue. Until then, the show will go on around the judge’s bench.

Blenn said he is hoping to sell out all 190 seats in the courtroom both days, because he would like it to be a worthwhile event for Bosom Buddies and 1-in-9. “It would be nice to have a strong turnout and to be able to make a sizeable contribution to both,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to contribute anything, and in a manner of doing so, making people laugh.”