Back in 1991, before "Boston Public" or even "Picket Fences," Off Broadway theatregoers were able to catch actor-comedian Fyvush Finkel at the John Houseman basement space in his revue, Finkel's Follies, comprising songs and sketches of the Yiddish theatre era. Finkel returned, briefly, to the Houseman mainstage with, Fyvush Finkel - From Second Avenue to Broadway in late 1996. He then came back in 1997 with a more elaborate show at midtown's Town Hall. That engagement, Fyvush Finkel: From Second Avenue to Broadway, has played various venues since and will now return to New York for two engagements, Dec. 15 and 16, at Queens Theatre in the Park in Flushing.
Second Avenue begins with comedy and musical moments from the heyday of the Yiddish theatre (where Finkel, son of a Brooklyn tailor, got his start at age 9). Act II offers the performer telling stories of his years on Broadway and singing show tunes from Fiddler On The Roof (he toured in that one), Gigi and others.
As in previous incarnations, joining FF in the show will be his sons, Ian Finkel (a xylophonist) and Elliot Finkel (a pianist) as part of the five-piece Finkel Orchestra.
Finkel the elder got his start in the Yiddish theatre and won an Obie Award for his 1988 Broadway work in Cafe Crown, but didn't attain true celebrity until he played a lawyer on TV. As Douglas Wambaugh on CBS' "Picket Fences," Finkel won two Emmy Awards and became a household name for his bulbous nose, outsized personality and warmly conveyed Jewish gestures. Finkel also appeared in the Off-Broadway musical, Little Shop Of Horrors and has hosted the annual Chabad-Lubavitch "L'Chaim to Life" telethon for several years.
For tickets ($26-$32) and information on Fyvush Finkel: Second Avenue to Broadway (the "From" has apparently been stricken from the title) at Q-TIP, call (718) 760-0064. — By David Lefkowitz