Jewish World Review August 27, 2010 / 17 Elul, 5770
By Greg Crosby
Yo! Put on yez Yankee caps, dust off yez Sinatra records, ordah in some deli, an' brush up on your New York attitude 'cause it's time again for da greatest show on eart! Of course I'm talking about the New York Alumni Association's annual reunion and stage show. I call it the greatest show on earth because it really is. You won't find a better show on Broadway, yo. This is THE event of the year!
It all happens on Saturday, October 2nd in Beverly Hills. The evening begins with the world's biggest high school reunion as transplanted New Yorkers (and others from the East Coast) gather together to food and a ton of memories. Then following the reunion is the piece de resistance of the evening, the icing on the cheese cake - the variety show and award ceremony.
This will be the 25th annual reunion and it's shaping up to be a dandy. NYAA is the brain child of Lou and Fran Zigman who supply the heart and soul of the event each year. It's a work of love for them and they take pride in the fact that they have honored some of the biggest names in show business throughout the years. Past honorees have included Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, Steve Allen, Rita Moreno, Jerry Vale, Mickey Rooney, Cyd Charisse, Tony Martin, Charles Durning, Gene Barry, Ruby Keeler, Martin Landau, Jerry Stiller, Melissa Manchester, Ed Ames, and on and on and on.
This year they will be honoring Louis Gossett, Jr. who served with Jon Voight as honorary chairs for last year's event. Brooklyn born Lou Gossett made his professional acting debut at the age of 17, winning the Donaldson Award as best newcomer to theatre. He went to NYU on a basketball scholarship and was invited to try out for the NY Knicks, yet he decided to continue his acting career with a role in the Broadway production of "A Raisin in the Sun."
Gossett has won numerous acting awards including a couple of Golden Globes, as well as an Emmy for his role of Fiddler in "Roots," and the Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for "An Officer and a Gentleman." Oh, and by the way, he was named "King of Brooklyn" at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival in 1990.
You can bet the entertainment for the evening will be nothing short of "A-number One, Top of the List" as Sinatra would say. Comedian Freddie Roman will be back again this year keeping the joint jumping and the audience in the aisles. Also helping to keep everyone in stitches that night will be comedians Sal Richards, Sarge, and Dick Capri. In the singing department they have Billy Davis & Marilyn McCoo, Hal Linden, Mike Burstyn, and Theodore Bikel. And to top it off, Garry Marshall will be on hand to welcome everyone. Whew! How's that for talent?
It seems that almost everyone in California is either a former New Yorker or knows someone who is a former New Yorker. But as someone who married a former New Yorker I can tell you that there really is no such thing as a "former" New Yorker - just New Yorkers who happen to be living somewhere else. Not only did I marry a New York girl, I married the city of New York. We've been happily bi-coastal for over 30 years. What a wonderful city New York is, exciting like no other. New York is the town that all cities want to be when they grow up.
If you've never attended this event and are curious about it, I recommend that you check it out on the internet. Some of their past shows are available to see on YouTube. Whether you are a New York alumni or just want to join in the fun, this is the show not to be missed! But remember, you must have a ticket to attend! There's still time to order tickets for the reunion and show, but don't put it off too long, as the best seats go fast. Know what I mean, Bubee? The web site is: www.nyalumni.com or you can call (310) 276-2754 for more information or E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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© 2008, Greg Crosby