Friday, April 12, 2013


Aaron Serotsky, Ned Eisenberg and Miriam Silverman in Finks.

Until I saw Zero Hour, a solo biodrama about the brilliant, difficult Zero Mostel, a few years back, I wasn't aware that Jerome Robbins had given names of suspected communists to the House Un-American Activities Committee. I knew about Elia Kazan, of course, but Robbins had seemed untainted by it all.

There's a not-even-thinly-disguised dancer-choreographer based on him in Finks, a funny, moving new Off Broadway play that at first glance can seem lightweight due to the amount of comedy it contains but is quite substantial. It's by Joe Gilford, whose actor parents, Jack Gilford and Madeline Lee, were blacklisted thanks to Robbins's testimony. Whereas Zero Hour was a diatribe, Finks reaches for understanding, which makes what happened to the playwright's parents all the more powerful. And an Abbott and Costello spoof with a Red Scare slant is brilliant and hilarious.