Of the many memorable plays penned by Neil Simon, "Lost in Yonkers" is one of the most honored.

The story of a quirky New York family dealing with crisis in 1942 was honored with a Pulitzer Prize for drama and a Tony Award for best play following its debut in 1991.

A cast of local actors will bring "Lost in Yonkers" to the stage at Contra Costa Civic Theatre in El Cerrito for performances starting Sept. 21 under the guidance of Mario Cossa, who is making his directorial debut with the company.

CCCT calls the play "a vivid example of the manner in which family dysfunction is passed down through generations, as well as presenting possibilities for transformation and healing by targeted change within the family system."

Dysfunction is nothing new in works by Simon, who weaves his well-honed humor into the drama.

The CCCT cast for the opener of its new season includes Billy Raphael (Louie), Daniel Quezada (Jay), Dan Morgan (Eddie), Jamie Atlas (Artie), Merle Nadlin (Grandma) and newcomers Sonya Kreiden (Gert) and Melanie Bandera-Hess (Bella).

Director Cossa comes to CCCT with a pedigree that fits the premise of the play. He is a trainer, educator, practitioner of psychodrama, sociometry and group psychotherapy and registered drama therapist/master teacher.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with 2 p.m. Sunday matinees on Sept. 30, Oct. 7 and Oct. 14 at the theater, 951 Pomona Ave.


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To reserve tickets, visit www.ccct.org or call 510-524-9132.

WEST COUNTY NOTES: Saint Mary's College High School in Berkeley held two special events to open its sesquicentennial year.

At the completion of the first full week of classes on Aug. 31, the school community gathered for a special assembly that included passing out more than 600 pieces of birthday cake.

On Sept. 7, faculty and staff formally opened the school year by attending the Mass of the Holy Spirit, celebrating Father Jayson Landeza, a member of St. Mary's class of 1979 and chaplain to several local fire and police departments.

Saint Mary's was founded in San Francisco in 1863, moved to Oakland in 1889, and to Berkeley in 1927. The school will conclude its anniversary year with a celebration next June.

  • The annual Parish Festival at St. John the Baptist Church, 11150 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito, is 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 23. The day features international food booths, carnival games with prizes for children, live entertainment, drinks, a country store, garden plants and a grand prize raffle drawing.

    For more details, call 510-232-5659 or send an email to stjohns@sjtbc.us.

  • The Friends of Albany Senior Center are holding a Hawaiian Luau Fundraiser at 5 p.m. Sept. 22 at the Community Center, 1249 Marin Ave.

    The event will include entertainment, dancing and food by the Albany Lions Club. Tickets are $12 adults, $6 children ages 6 and under, available at the center, 846 Masonic Ave.

  • The next Point Richmond Music show is 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday at Park Place and Washington Avenue.

    Opening act will be longtime favorite the Delta Wires, followed by blues artist G.G. Amos.

    The concert series includes a no-host bar, raffle, children's activities and exhibitions by Arts of Point Richmond and the Point Richmond Art Collective.

  • The annual Green Drive Expo, a one-stop show to see fuel-efficient and clean-energy vehicles, returns to the Craneway Pavilion, 1414 Harbour Way South in Richmond, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

    The event showcases the latest in alternative transportation that attendees can examine and even test out. There are also informational speakers and hands-on exhibits.

    Admission is $10 at the door, with a discount for advance purchases at www.greendriveexpo.com.

  • Mark you calendar for the Friends of the Albany Library one-day book sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 22 in the Edith Stone Room, 1247 Marin Ave. The final hour will have books for $3 per bag.

    Contact Chris Treadway at 510-262-2784 or ctreadway@bayareanewsgroup.com. Follow him at Twitter.com/christreadway. Stay up-to-date on West Contra Costa news at IBABuzz.com/westcounty.