Fyvush Finkel Live! – The “run” may be limited, Fyvush Finkel is not!
It’s the 96th consecutive opening night of the Folksbeine, the National Yiddish Theater. The star is 88, an accomplished icon of American entertainment and Yiddish theater, wonderfully responsive to his twenty first century, albeit nostalgic, audience. In a retrospect on a life in the theater – and movies and TV – Fyvush Finkel, alias Phil Fine, has taken to the boards with “FYVUSH FINKEL LIVE!, presented by the Folksbiene, the National Yiddish Theater, at The Baruch Performing Arts Center in Manhattan. A charming musical retrospect of a life lovingly spent provides a nostalgic evening of familiar moments. Combining song, dance, and the well honed talents of a lifetime of performance, Fyvush Finkel carries his audience through his three quarter century career in the Yiddish theater, touching yesterday and reaching for tomorrow.
The warmth of the audience’s greeting to the eternal song and dance man seems to lift the years. His steps may be a little slower, his shoulders a bit more bent, but the mind – and the mouth – are impeccable. The excellence of Finkel’s timing aptly supports the “face that launched a thousand shticks.” He brings to the stage a range of lively, familiar characters that cross the borders of time and generations.
The jokes may be familiar, but the impeccable delivery and timing keeps everything fresh. The effervescent Fyvush, joined by his sons, Elliot at the piano and Ion, a “xylophone virtuoso,” songster Merwin Goldsmith and the amazingly adaptive dancer and singer, June Gable, present an evening filled with old tales, hamishe moments, familiar music and the show business stories of a lifetime, showcasing the 88 year old Fyvush’s life with style and sentiment. Fyvush Finkel Live! is an evening of smiles at the Folksbeine and he promises to be back for the continuation in a decade – at 98!