Finks, Based on Lives of Jack Gilford and Madeline Lee Gilford, Opens April 6 in NY

By Michael Gioia
April 6, 2013

The New York premiere of Finks, based on the true experiences of Jack Gilford and Madeline Lee Gilford and the Blacklist of the 1950s, officially opens April 6, following previews that began March 28, at the Ensemble Studio Theatre.



Giovanna Sardelli directs the work by Joe Gilford, which features Michael Cullen (Bus Stop), Ned Eisenberg (Golden Boy), Leo Ash Evens (Jesus Christ Superstar), Jason Liebman, Kenney M. Green, Thomas Lyons, Aaron Serotsky (August: Osage County) and Miriam Silverman (Shakespeare in the Park's Hamlet).

Finks, according to press notes, "is playwright Joe Gilford's fictionalized account of his parents, Jack Gilford and Madeline Lee Gilford, and their real life experience of the blacklist. It is a tale of a scoundrel time, a time of paranoia, loyalty and betrayal, show business and show trials, told from the life of two young entertainers who, at the birth of their careers, had to confront the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). This play is about names, the naming of names, career-determining choices and finks. He was the gentle man with the kind face we knew from the Cracker Jack commercials, but in the early 1950s, when on the verge of stardom and his own TV series, somebody spoke his name. She was a TV and radio actress until somebody spoke her name. Both played roles they never thought they'd play in one the darkest times in American history when they were given top billing by finks."

"Joe Gilford has done a great job of capturing the fast paced spirit and humor of those times by writing a play that takes place at Cafe Society, the integrated Greenwich Village nightclub, and the HUAC hearings," said Ensemble artistic director William Carden in an earlier statement.

Jack Gilford is a two-time Tony Award nominee for his performances in Cabaret and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Madeline Lee Gilford performed on Broadway in Embezzled Heaven and was a producer on The World of Sholom Aleichem and Rags.

Other members of the creative team include scenic designer Jason Simms, lighting designer Gina Scherr, costume designer Sydney Maresca, sound designer Jill duBoff, choreographer Greg Graham and production stage manager Jillian Anderson.

The Ensemble Studio Theatre is located at 549 West 52nd Street. For more information and tickets, call (866) 811-4111 or click here.