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Last Updated 3/10/2009

"Assembly 2003" was very much the same, but yet so different and unique. By now the crowd has become used to the routine - have fun in the large "open air" schoolyard - then saunter up the short roadway to find their seats - all the while hoping that it’s too hot - but if so, remembering that it’s like the dear old days in assemblies be conditioning.
While much is the same, the show was every bit as unique as those in the past. Guided by the skillful hands of our veteran house manager, Arlene Schachter and her hardworking committee, the crowd settled into the newly upholstered seats while listening to the wonderful New York overture by the Manny Harmon orchestra under the direction of John Setar. As in the past ten years, the show began with the amazing rendition of America the Beautiful by Robbie Britt. His dramatic performance, in what has become an NYAA tradition always sets the table for what follows. The formal welcome from the ‘Impresario of the Improv’ came from Budd Friedman who first joined us in our first NYAA reunion which was held at the downtown Clothing Mart when we honored Phil Foster. Sal Richards’ spectacular performance several ago opened a lasting friendship as he has returned year after year to provide his vocal chords and the glue as co-master of ceremonies along with Budd.
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Red Buttons, in a tribute to his old military pal, Mickey Rooney, recalled Mickey joining him 58 years earlier for High Holiday services in Germany just after the end of WW II. Of course, before the poignant personal remarks to Mickey the crowd roared with laughter as Red showed once again the currency of his comedic wit. Broadway and television star, Ilene Graff ("Grease" and ’I Love My Wife", "Mr. Belvedere", "South Pacific"), joined by her husband/composer Ben Lanzarone wowed the audience with Ben’s arrangement of "Bridge Over Troubled Waters," made famous by a couple of guys from Queens - Simon and Garfunkel Thanks to the advice of entertainment guru. Richard Gordon, the audience was treated to one of the most touching experiences in memory as young television star, Annellse van der Pol drew a standing ovation by singing special lyrics from "You Made You" to Mickey. Former honoree Dick Van Patten and famed director, Arthur Hiller, who was the 20003 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for directors by the Director’s Guild of America provided their special insight about working with Mickey. Former honoree Fyvush Finkel administered the oath written by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and after performing the adoption, Fyvush and Theo Bikel "brought down the house" and the first act with their rousing duet from Fiddler on the Roof. no credit check payday loans

And, how better to begin after intermission but with one of Brooklyn’s greatest singers. Neil Sedaka. In between his songs, Neil was thrilled to salute one of his idols, Tonv Martin in anticipation of Tony’s 90th birthday. The audience joined Neil in singing happy birthday and when Neil finished with his epic hit, "Breaking up is Hard to Do," the clamor for an encore was deafening.
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Robin Schachter Gore - Howard Cohen & Ellen Schachter Cohen

Broadway’s Carol Lawrence (“Westside Story") lit up the stage with her songs and tribute to her friend Mickey. After a wonderful video highlighting Mickey’s career former honoree Connie Stevens - in her typically gracious and loving manner presented our special gift to him.

And then - the show began anew as Mickey razzled and dazzled with his song, his conversation and his comedic wit, culminating with a vibrant duet with his wife Jan. Mickey and Jan provided the icing on the cake and a joyous evening for all. As the crowd headed out, more than one could be heard saying, CAN’T WAIT ’TIL NEXT YEAR!
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