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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: The Nora York-Jerry Kearns Double-Barreled Love Fest, a John Partrick Shanley Revival

(0) Comments | Posted July 30, 2015 | 6:19 PM

The event is unique, at least as far as my brain wracking is taking me. It's the joint cabaret (alt-cabaret?)/gallery enterprise called Diva's Song, produced by gallery owner Mike Weiss.

The live performance part occurred July 29 at Joe's Pub, where Nora York--who's appeared at the venue every three or...

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First Nighter: Cheek By Jowl's Declan Donnellan Gleefully Undoes Alfred Jarry's "Ubu Roi"

(0) Comments | Posted July 24, 2015 | 2:37 PM

When Declan Donnellan's take-as-many-liberties-as-you-dare adaptation of Alfred Jarry's 1896 take-as-many-iconoclastic-strikes-as-you-can Ubu Roi begins, a boy (Sylvain Levitte) lies on a muted-color sofa nuzzling his video camera.

Before long he rises and starts examining through the camera's eye the tasteful apartment he shares with his well-dressed father (Christophe Grégoire) and mother...

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First Nighter: Colin Quinn Trots Out New York City Stereotypes for Some Yuks

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2015 | 7:39 PM

There's a fantasy I have about stand-up comics and a shrine they keep somewhere in their homes. On it are little stereotype icons to which stand-up comics add regularly and worship daily, their stand-up comic hands clasped in devout prayer. On it they also keep a scented votive candle to...

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First Nighter: PTP/NYC Champions the Ladies By Way of Howard Barker, Caryl Churchill, Jan Maxwell

(0) Comments | Posted July 23, 2015 | 12:18 PM

The treatment of women as second-class members of humanity, no matter what their accomplishments, is occupying the thoughts of the Potomac Theatre Project (PTP/NYC), again in residence this summer at Atlantic II. Happily, the subject matter is turning into some of the company's best work in their 25 years.


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First Nighter: Andrew Lippa's "Wild Party" Not Nearly Wild Enough

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2015 | 2:23 PM

Because I willingly concede that my memory can be faulty, I determined to watch with an open mind the City Center Encores! Off-Center revival of Andrew Lippa's The Wild Party. I didn't care much for it at the Manhattan Theatre Club premiere in 2000 when it hung around for 54...

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First Nighter: The Long and Short of the DruidShakespeare Takes On the History Plays

(0) Comments | Posted July 13, 2015 | 12:15 PM

Director Garry Hynes -- perhaps best known stateside for being the first female director to win a Tony (for Martin McDonagh's Beauty Queen of Leenane -- had something in mind, of course, when she asked playwright Mark O'Rowe to put together a redacted, four-part treatment of William Shakespeare's Richard II,...

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First Nighter: The Lobbyists' Wavy 'SeaWife', HorizonTheatreRep's Mixed 'Araberlin', Pan-Asian's Weak 'Sayonara'

(0) Comments | Posted July 9, 2015 | 10:51 PM

In this day of 90-minute productions, many of which might have been expanded to make their point(s) more effectively, there remain productions of greater length that could have stood judicious red-penciling. Two of the following three enterprises are among their number:

SeaWife, at the South Street Seaport Museum, is in...

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First Nighter: Ellen Greene, Jake Gyllenhaal in Lovable 'Little Shop of Horrors' Revival

(0) Comments | Posted July 2, 2015 | 8:00 AM

What follows is an unadulterated rave for the Encores! Off-Center presentation, at City Center, of the beloved Howard-Ashman-Alan Menken Little Shop of Horrors, as adapted from the 1960 Roger Corman movie. But if I were you, I'd stop reading right now and hustle to the theater to grab whatever tickets...

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First Nighter: Melissa Ross's Of Good Stock Stacks Up, Brooke Adams and Tony Shalhoub Enjoy Happy Days

(0) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 10:48 PM

Every so often a playwright has two plays or even more open almost simultaneously. The scheduling coincidence (?) tempts a more taut assessment of where the playwright is in his or her career.

Melissa Ross has just offered the enticing sizing-up opportunity. Only a month or so ago her accurately...

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First Nighter: Rajiv Joseph's 'Guards at the Taj' Shocks Admirably

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2015 | 5:02 AM

A myth about the Taj Mahal goes that when it was completed as an Agra, India palace for Shah Jahan's wife -- who didn't live to see it -- the mogul had the hands of the 20,000 workmen cut off so they could never construct a building that might equal...

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First Nighter: The Tonys as Experienced in the Press Room

(1) Comments | Posted June 7, 2015 | 11:50 PM

TONY AWARDS PRESS ROOM -- Although the space where we flacks are packed into rows is provided with a simulcast and earphones, you don't have to watch the show if you don't want to. The winners are coming our way at times and that preoccupies us, but there are lulls,...

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First Nighter: The Marcy Heisler-Zina Goldrich Musical 'Ever After' an Unlikely Ever After

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2015 | 12:34 PM

First, let me say several laudatory words about Marcy Heisler, who wrote the book and lyrics for Ever After, having its world premiere at the Paper Mill Playhouse, and Zina Goldrich, who wrote the music for the extravagant stage adaptation of the 1998 movie starring Drew Barrymore and Anjelica Houston.

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First Nighter: Simon Stephens's "Heisenberg," Tom Jacobson's "The Twentieth-Century Way"

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2015 | 12:07 AM

Whether two things appearing simultaneously can be called a trend seems premature. But when they appear one on top of the other, they can at least be described as noticeable.

I'm talking about Simon Stephens's Heisenberg opening at Manhattan Theatre's Studio at Stage II only a day after Jesse Eisenberg's...

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First Nighter: Jesse Eisenberg's Spoiled 'The Spoils,' David Greenspan Snappily Takes on Gertrude Stein

(0) Comments | Posted June 3, 2015 | 10:10 AM

Sometimes the unforgettable characters populating your personal landscape are the ones you'd most like to forget. For The Spoils, his new play at The Pershing Square Signature Center, Jesse Eisenberg has written such a character and is so enamored of how unforgettable this one is that he's playing the odious...

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Book Exposition of America: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow?

(0) Comments | Posted June 1, 2015 | 11:26 AM

Whatever is happening in publishing today looks to be reflected at the Book Exposition of America (BEA). The annual event, just held May 27-29 at the Jacob Javits center, seems to be shrinking to oblivion. Not only did it begin a half-day later than many attendees realized it would, but...

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First Nighter: Emily Schwend's 'The Other Thing,' Melissa Ross' 'Nice Girl' on Nice Women or Otherwise

(0) Comments | Posted May 30, 2015 | 10:02 AM

Sometimes at the theater, the women wrest it from the men -- not quite that often, but sometimes. This is one of those weeks. I'm talking about The Other Thing, written by Emily Schwend and directed by Lucie Tiberghien, at Second Stage's McGinn/Cazale Theatre Uptown, and Nice Girl, written by...

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First Nighter: Jim Parsons is God in An Act of God, Robert Creighton is James Cagney in Cagney

(0) Comments | Posted May 29, 2015 | 11:32 AM

Jim Parsons, adored for his appearances as Sheldon Lee Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, is now appearing at Studio 54 (although it's not a Studio 54 production) as the Supreme Being, though there's a catch.

An Act of God is the idea -- a cute one, at that --...

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First Nighter: Neil LaBute's 'The Way We Get By' Doesn't Get By, Simon Callow Plays Transgender in 'Tuesday at Tesco's'

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2015 | 11:02 PM

The 36 Goldberg variations on the Bach harpsichord tune are copious, but apparently Neil LaBute wants to give those spins on a theme stiff competition. His theme: the battle of the sexes -- only with The Way We Get By, at Second Stage Theatre, he doesn't so much involve a...

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First Nighter: Edith Piaf Remembered in Pascal Rioult's Revue With Christine Andreas

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2015 | 12:48 PM

If it's offbeat revues you're after, make a beeline to the short-run Street Singer: Celebrating the Life of Edith Piaf at 42West Nightclub, and make it fast. Tonight's performance (May 16) is the last, pending a possible return engagement.

For the unexpected enterprise, choreographer Pascal Rioult has the ever-intrepid Christine...

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First Nighter: Dan Lauria's 'Dinner With the Boys' Undernourished

(0) Comments | Posted May 13, 2015 | 10:00 PM

Dinner With the Boys, written by Dan Lauria and at the Acorn, is a harmless enough comedy about the Mafia today -- not that Charlie, played by Lauria, is harmless. He's one of two made family members living in what the programs identifies as "the wilds of New Jersey." They've...

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