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David Finkle
David Finkle is a New York-based writer who concentrates on the arts. He's currently the chief drama critic for and writes regularly on music for The Village Voice and Back Stage. He's contributed to many publications, including The New York Times, The New York Post, The Nation, The New Yorker, New York, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and American Theatre.

Entries by David Finkle

First Nighter: Lisa D'Amour's 'Airline Highway' Traffic Jam

(0) Comments | Posted April 24, 2015 | 8:49 AM

Everybody knows about gang comedies, most often as television series. Something less talked about, if ever talked about, are gang tragedies -- or let's say, gang dramas. They exist as well, often as plays.

Tennessee Williams's Vieux Carré, a fictionalized version of the boarding house in which he stayed during...

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First Nighter: 'Doctor Zhivago' Caught at Musical Malpractice

(1) Comments | Posted April 21, 2015 | 9:02 PM

The importance of being earnest was important to Oscar Wilde. In other theatrical endeavors, earnestness can be not only uninvolving but crippling. And perhaps the best compliment that can be paid the Michael Weller-Lucy Simon-Michael Korie-Amy Powers tuner tune-up of Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago is that it's earnest -- two...

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First Nighter: 'Living on Love' Proves Insufficient, Even With Renée Fleming

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2015 | 6:39 PM

What do you get when you cross Noel Coward's Private Lives with the Cole Porter-Samuel Spewack-Bella Spewack Kiss Me, Kate? You get cross. That's what you get. You get especially cross if what you get is Joe DiPietro's Living on Love at the Longacre, which he's based on Garson Kanin's...

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First Nighter: Peter Sarsgaard in Shakespeare's and Austin Pendleton's "Hamlet"

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2015 | 10:06 AM

It's surprising how many actors appearing as William Shakespeare's Hamlet don't take heed of the young Dane's advice to the players about speaking trippingly on the tongue and not sawing the air. They utter the sage admonition but then go about ignoring it.

Currently, Peter Sarsgaard is among the transgressors....

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First Nighter: Flying Off Course While 'Finding Neverland'

(1) Comments | Posted April 15, 2015 | 10:11 PM

The story of how J. M. Barrie's friendship with Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and her sons Peter, Jack, George and Michael led to the classic Peter Pan is a sweet one, which was tributed in Allen Knee's play The Man Who Was Peter Pan and the 2004 film Finding Neverland. Now...

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First Nighter: The Schwartz-Almond 'Iowa,' The Good-Time '39 Steps'

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2015 | 11:10 AM

Towards the end of the Jenny Schwartz-Todd Almond somewhat musical Iowa -- or Iow@, as the program has it -- four Mormon sister-wives in high-necked, long-sleeved, floor-length pastel dresses arrive to sing a song about the myriad woes of women in contemporary society. It goes on for maybe 15 minutes...

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First Nighter: Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon Sparks the Gershwins' 'An American in Paris'

(1) Comments | Posted April 12, 2015 | 9:53 PM

Christopher Wheeldon's choreography for An American in Paris, at the Palace, is so spectacular that you have to forgive anything else wrong with the production--and believe you me, there's plenty to forgive--and I mean plenty.

But before I get to that, the first thing most George Gershwin lovers will want...

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First Nighter: Tracey Scott Wilson's 'Buzzer' Fizzles; 'Clinton the Musical' Frazzles

(0) Comments | Posted April 9, 2015 | 11:47 PM

As Tracey Scott Wilson's Buzzer gets underway at the Public, Jackson (Grantham Coleman) introduces himself to the audience as a thriving young wrong-side-of-the-tracks lawyer whose credits include Exeter, Harvard and Harvard Law School. Shortly after that, he's in the process of convincing girlfriend Suzy (Tessa Ferrer) that it's time for...

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First Nighter: Little Girl "Gigi" Does Not Grow Up on Broadway in a Most Delightful Way

(1) Comments | Posted April 8, 2015 | 7:11 PM

The movie Gigi with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Frederick Loewe and direction by Vincente Minnelli won the 1958 Oscar as best movie. That was one of nine -- count 'em, 9 -- Oscars handed the box-office hit. Others included best screenplay adaptation (Lerner), best song...

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First Nighter: Robert Askins's Hand to God Deserves a Big Hand

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2015 | 7:22 PM

Tyrone is a puppet with sharp teeth that lives at the end of the right arm belonging to timid Jason (Steven Boyer). The fabric creature struts his considerable stuff in Hand to God, Robert Askins's career-making play that has now and for all the best reasons been transferred from off-off-Broadway...

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First Nighter: New Dance Craze "Flexn" Fills Park Avenue Armory

(0) Comments | Posted April 3, 2015 | 4:02 PM

Would the 21 dancers of Flexn, directed by Reggie (Regg Roc) Gray and Peter Sellars, object to their movement styles being described as break-dancing hiked to another level? Surely, what they're engaged in doing throughout their Park Avenue Armory show, which ends April 4, wouldn't have evolved had break-dancing preceded...

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First Nighter: The Royal Shakespeare Company's Regal 'Love's Labour's Lost' and 'Love's Labour's Won'

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2015 | 6:55 PM

Anyone who knows anything about William Shakespeare's plays is aware of Love's Labour's Lost (British spelling of "Labour," needless to say), the comedy probably written in the early 1590s where the King of Navarre and three chums forswear loving for three years in favor of studying just as the nubile...

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First Nighter: "Don Carlo" at the Met Is Grand Opera, "Soldier X" Marches Well at HERE

(0) Comments | Posted March 31, 2015 | 4:23 PM

You don't hear the term "grand opera" much anymore. That's if you hear it at all. But it's going to be revived right now in regards to the opening night performance of Giuseppe Verdi's Don Carlo at the Metropolitan Opera House. Thanks to a confluence of actually controllable --within reason...

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First Nighter: Bedlam Company's Double Go at 'Twelfth Night, or What You Will' Perhaps Too Much Bedlam

(0) Comments | Posted March 29, 2015 | 9:00 PM

Gender bending on stage is as old as Greek tragedy where men played women's roles, and in masks. The policy held--without the masks--in Elizabethan theater. Indeed, it wasn't until Charles II took the throne that women played women. In the last century or so, it hasn't been uncommon for men...

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First Nighter: "Ken Ludwig's Baskerville," Richard Maxwell's "The Evening"

(0) Comments | Posted March 23, 2015 | 4:04 PM

Baskerville -- excuse me, I mean to say Ken Ludwig's Baskerville, as it's correctly called -- is a crackerjack adaptation of, you've already guessed, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles, at Princeton's McCarter Theatre only for the rest of this week. Perhaps Lugwig uses a truncated...

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First Nighter: Wendy Wasserstein's "Heidi Chronicles" in A+ Revival

(1) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 10:47 PM

With The Heidi Chronicles Wendy Wasserstein wrote her most popular -- and I'd argue -- her best play. My opinion certainly hasn't changed as of the current revival, at The Music Box, with Elisabeth Moss giving a performance of depth and breadth in the title role. If anything, I'd claim...

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First Nighter: "Paint Your Wagon" Revival Paints Town Red-Hot

(0) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 3:17 PM

Although reviews are expected to be as objective as possible in a somewhat paradoxically subjective way, don't wait for the following assessment of Paint Your Wagon, playing this weekend in the New York City Center Encores! series, to stick to that demand.

The reason for the, uh, lapse? The Alan...

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First Nighter: Folk Music Honoring 'Lonesome Traveler' Sure is Folksy

(2) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 9:37 PM

The nine singers/musicians of Lonesome Traveler, at 59E59, open their squeaky-clean paean to (primarily) American folk music with the lively ditty, "How Can I Keep From Singing?"

I found it easy -- this despite unceasingly smiling encouragement from the cast to join in. To their credit, not a one of...

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First Nighter: Melissa James Gibson Prescribes an Ineffective 'Placebo'

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 10:22 PM

Louise (Carrie Coon) spends her time at the lab working on a study of female desire--with desire-depleted Mary (Florencia Lozano) apparently her primary subject--but it's in her private life that her own female desire is continually thwarted, poor thing.

With Placebo, Melissa James Gibson, who's written some A-plus plays ([sic]...

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First Nighter: A Strong Review for "Posterity," Des Bishop Is "Made in China"

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2015 | 1:53 PM

Doug Wright loves to wrangle with deceased figures of greater or lesser fame, and in Posterity, at the Atlantic's Linda Gross Theatre, he comes up with a humdinger.

He knows that at some point toward the end of Henrik Ibsen's life, supporters commissioned a bust from sculptor Gustav Vigeland. He...

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