LuEsther Mertz To Be Honored

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luestherThe late LuEsther Mertz will be honored posthumously at the Cow Bay Theatre Company’s annual awards reception on Friday, April 11.

The reception will precede the performance of Neil Simon’s comedy Last of the Red Hot Lovers at the Jeanne Rimsky Theater of the Landmark on Main Street. Senator Jack Martins and the Community Chest of Port Washington will also be honored at the reception.

North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth will present the Mertz award to Robert Lee Aitken, president of Friends of the Port Washington Library, to be permanently displayed at the library. “Mertz’s presence was a gift to Port Washington that keeps on giving,” said Elizabeth Kott, president of the Cow Bay Theatre Company, “She was a trustee of the library and a founding member of the League of Women Voters. The Mertz building, which once housed the burgeoning PCH, is now the Community Chest of Port Washington Building. She was unstinting in her support of the arts, especially ballet and the theater.”

The Cow Bay Theatre Company’s founder, Howard Blankman, was a friend and knew her well. “To know LuEsther was to love her,” he said. “I wonder if many folks in Port know what a force she was for the theater.”

For example, when the New York Shakespeare Festival premiered A Chorus Line, its move to Broadway was underwritten by Mertz.

“Locally, when the Schreiber High School Band was invited to play at one of the bowl games they needed money to finance the trip,” Blankman said. “Somehow, I got involved in the job trying to raise money for the kids to go. What did I do? I went to LuEsther. What did she do? She gave me a sizable check. And the band paraded at the bowl game. LuEsther Mertz is one person the present generation and future generations should know about.”

Last of the Red Hot Lovers will be presented Friday, April 11, at 8:15 p.m.; Saturday, April 12, at 8 p.m.; and Sunday, April 13, at 2 p.m.. For further information or to order tickets, send an email to greasepaint@optimum.net.

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