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David Finkle
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David Finkle is a New York-based writer who concentrates on the arts. He's currently the chief drama critic for TheaterMania.com 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: 'Henry IV Part I' and 'Henry IV Part II' on Screen With Antony Sher

(0) Comments | Posted July 5, 2014 | 10:14 AM

William Shakespeare historians have tried and failed to find a figure during the reigns of Henry IV and Henry V who might have been the inspiration for Sir John Falstaff, whom many of the playwright's advocates consider the preeminent Shakespeare character.

Appearing in both Henry IV plays and again in...

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First Nighter: Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, Brook's Valley of Astonishment in London

(0) Comments | Posted June 27, 2014 | 12:17 PM

Although it may be that most men would prefer their first-born to be a boy, is there any man in history more intent on having a son than Henry VIII, known to intimates (such as they are) as Harry?

Hilary Mantel persuasively presents the case for his preeminence at this...

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First Nighter: 'Skylight,' 'The Pajama Game' Revived, 'Adler & Gibb' New in London

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 4:11 AM

LONDON -- When Tom Sergeant (Bill Nighy) drops in on Kyra Hollis (Carey Mulligan) totally unannounced in the revival of David Hare's 1995 play Skylight, at Wyndham's, he's clearly there to fan the embers of a six-year affair that ended two years earlier. That's when Tom's dying wife Alice learned...

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First Nighter: "Fathers and Sons," "Khandan [Family]," "Handbagged" in London

(0) Comments | Posted June 16, 2014 | 4:34 AM

LONDON--Ivan Turgenev's 1862 novel Fathers and Sons, which Brian Friel adapted for the stage under the same title in 1987 is just revived at the Donmar Warehouse. In other words, a revered Russian work by way of an Irish playwright is being performed by an English cast enhanced in part...

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First Nighter: 'Titus Andronicus,' 'Antony and Cleopatra' Expand the Globe

(0) Comments | Posted June 14, 2014 | 6:04 AM

Scholars aren't certain when William Shakespeare wrote Titus Andronicus, although they favor 1593. They are more certain that it was considered his first major success. This says something about Elizabethan taste, since the play is such a non-stop blood bath. Whether it's the seminal revenge tragedy isn't clear. They didn't...

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First Nighter: New Musical "Fly By Night" Doesn't Fly, Then Does

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 6:14 AM

Fly By Night, the Will Connolly-Michael Mitnick-Kim Rosenstock (who also conceived the enterprise) musical at Playwrights Horizons starts off cute as can be. Depending on your tolerance for cute-as-can-be musicals, you'll immediately warm to it or almost immediately turn a cold shoulder.

Since I'm among the types almost immediately inclined...

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First Nighter: A Gotta-See Alan Ayckbourn Festival

(0) Comments | Posted June 12, 2014 | 4:12 AM

The big fact about 75-year-old Alan Ayckbourn is that he's written 78--count 'em, 78--plays during his long career, including two, actually three, receiving world premieres these weeks at 59E59 Theaters. It's what you might call an Alan Ayckbourn mini-festival to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his first production.

Looked at...

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First Nighter: Ayckbourn's Small Family Business Large and in HD

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2014 | 9:15 AM

Alan Ayckbourn is the chronicler of the middle class. Up in Scarborough, England, where he turns his plays out and puts them on -- or has done for many years -- he looks at people from every angle. He effortlessly gets their foibles and peccadilloes down with accuracy. Depending on...

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First Nighter: Nancy Harris's Our New Girl Unsure of Herself

(0) Comments | Posted June 10, 2014 | 7:33 PM

Nancy Harris certainly knows how to put the parts together for a creepy-crawly experience. Our New Girl, her play at Atlantic II, could be regarded as Mary Poppins meets The Bad Seed meets Turn of the Screw with a glancing God of Carnage acquaintanceship. The problem flares when she doesn't...

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Easy Listener: 5 You-Gotta-Have CDS From Five You-Must-Know Women

(0) Comments | Posted June 5, 2014 | 7:04 PM

If you like great songs--not necessarily great songs you already know--and you like women delivering them, here are five CDs that you'd be extremely foolish to think you can live without:

Barb Jungr, Hard Rain (Kristalyn): There are singers and then there are interpreters. Jungr is perhaps today's absolute best...

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First Nighter: Pushkin's Eugene Onegin, Poe's The Raven Take Flight

(0) Comments | Posted May 30, 2014 | 5:58 PM

Guess it's blowin' in the zeitgeist, but two adaptations involving rhymed classics are available in Manhattan this weekend only and worth any theatergoer's precious time:

Alexander Pushkin's Eugene Onegin was published in serial form between 1825 and 1832 and published in its entirety in 1833. Because then and now...

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First Nighter: Chalk Farm at 59E59, Carrie Robbins One-Acts at HERE, Anthem at Lynn Redgrave

(0) Comments | Posted May 30, 2014 | 1:50 PM

Turns out that AJ Taudevin, who wrote Chalk Farm with Kieran Hurley, and Julia Taudevin, who appears in the 55-minute play with Thomas Dennis, are the same person. That's another way of saying that the charged feeling expressed by the mother in the one-act at 59E59 Theaters is shared by...

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First Nighter": A Feeble "Fable," A Lively "So, This Then is Life"

(0) Comments | Posted May 22, 2014 | 9:50 PM

When Chandra (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) slips happily through an upstage door to smell the trellis roses at the start of A Fable, David Van Asselt's new play at the Cherry Lane, it's the extremely naïve theater-goer who won't immediately guess that the young girl's innocent joy isn't going to last much...

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First Nighter: Under My Skin Doesn't Get Below the Surface

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2014 | 3:47 PM

Usually the devil gets the best lines, but since there's no devil in Under My Skin, the comedy (?) by Robert Sternin and Prudence Fraser at the Little Shubert, it's the angel (charismatic Dierdre Friel), who cracks the funniest.

She spouts one about Steve Jobs that's an honest-to-goodness laugh-getter,...

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First Nighter: William Inge's Loss of Roses Somewhat Wilted

(0) Comments | Posted May 12, 2014 | 8:49 PM

It seems to me there's more than one reason for staging a revival. The first one that springs to mind, because it's the most obvious, is that a well-written and successful play is always a strong contender for old and new audiences.

A second reason is that a play...

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First Nighter: Encores! Irma La Douce Isn't So Sweet

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2014 | 1:51 PM

Irma La Douce, starring Elizabeth Seal and Keith Michell, opened on Broadway in 1960, and when the Tonys awards for the season were handed around in 1961, Seal won over Julie Andrews for Camelot, Carol Channing for Show Girl and Nancy Walker for Do Re Mi.

Since she'd arrived,...

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First Nighter: Samuel D. Hunter's "The Few" is for the Many

(0) Comments | Posted May 8, 2014 | 11:13 PM

In Samuel D. Hunter's outstanding play, The Whale, presented at Playwrights Horizons in the 2012-13 season, obese and suicidal Charlie ignores the pleas of those around him to improve his life, insisting that since the AIDS-related death of his male lover he has no reason to go on.

At...

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First Nighter: Noel Coward's Song at Twilight in Top-Drawer Revival

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 7:01 PM

When you look over the plays Noel Coward trumpeted during his fabulous career, few give the impression of being in any direct way autobiographical.

Though his first smash was The Vortex in 1924, about a drug-addicted young man and his mother, the troubled lad couldn't have been based on...

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First Nighter: Alessandrini's Forbidden Broadway Comes Out Swinging! Sure Does

(1) Comments | Posted May 4, 2014 | 8:16 PM

Just when the 2013-14 season officially closes with the announcements of awards nominations and when audiences are feeling helplessly besieged by the unusual number of musicals -- too many of them less than hoped for -- the cavalry charges over the horizon in the persons of satirist Gerard Alessandrini, co-director...

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First Nighter: James McManus's "Cherry Smoke," Oni Faida Lampley's "Tough Titty"

(0) Comments | Posted May 1, 2014 | 10:36 PM

It's not too often that great passion doomed--make that Great Passion Doomed--hits the boards. There's Romeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra and Cyrano de Bergerac and West Side Story with its Romeo and Juliet bow. Add to the list, though maybe not quite on that lofty level but nothing...

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