Friday, February 3, 2017

Spotlight On...Dan Fingerman

Name: Dan Fingerman

Hometown: Huntington, NY

Education: University at Albany (SUNY)

Favorite Credits: Boys of a Certain Age my play that’s about to open.  I’m in love with this show, the team we’ve assembled and the message behind it.

Why theater?: Hard to answer without sounding clich├ęd, but it’s live!  It happens once.  You have to be there to BE THERE.  Everything else seems kind of boring.

Tell us about Boys of a Certain Age: Boys of a Certain Age is about four very different gay Jews spending the weekend together, talking about sex, gay culture, politics, Jewish identity, and books while at the same time working through their interpersonal relationships and history with each other.  Two are in their 60s, two are in their late 20s/early 30s.

What inspired you to write Boys of a Certain Age?: I know a lot of older gay men from bars I go to and my synagogue and they have wonderful (and some painful) stories that I don’t think younger gay men really pay enough attention to.  These guys survived the AIDS epidemic and were experiencing all of the pro-gay changes of the last few years.  I thought that was a very unique vantage point, that wasn’t being represented; so I put them in the same house with two younger guys and voila!

What kind of theater speaks to you? What or who inspires you as an artist?: I like theater that makes people think.  It doesn’t have to necessarily change your mind or life; but if someone comes out of a show and thinks about the world differently even for a moment, than it’s succeeded.

If you could work with anyone you’ve yet to work with, who would it be?: I have a bit of an obsession with a  number of actresses who work a lot but aren’t exactly household names outside of the theater world.  If I could write a show for Alma Cuervo, Mary Beth Peil and Maryann Plunkett I’d be in heaven.

What show have you recommended to your friends?: It depends on the friend of course.  I don’t love giving theater recommendations because I always spend too much time thinking about it and suggest some show in a basement somewhere and then they say “We’re going to see Wicked,” which is great; no disrespect to them or Wicked but not what I suggested.

Who would play you in a movie about yourself and what would it be called?: I have no idea who would play me or what it would be called; but it’s theme would definitely be about forging on despite unpredicted setbacks.

If you could go back in time and see any play or musical you missed, what would it be?: I moved to NYC a few months after Spalding Gray committed suicide.  I’ve watched the work of his that survives on tape, but I would have loved to have seen him perform live.

What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?: Seamless.  1980s prime time soap operas.  Reading Wikipedia for hours. That’s essentially a wonderful night for me; because I live a wild life.

If you weren’t working in theater, you would be _____?:  Well, I do have a degree in political science, so maybe politics.  But not the political advocacy work I did for years.  More, staging a convention and balloon drop, or wonderful speech backdrop, which is basically theatrical.

What’s up next?: I’m working on two other plays right now.  One has gay characters and themes similar to my past work; the other is totally different