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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: Joan Beber's "In Bed With Roy Cohn" Falls Out of Bed

(0) Comments | Posted September 2, 2015 | 12:32 PM

You could say that Joan Beber's In Bed With Roy Cohn is a fantasia about the notorious Joe McCarthy-period lawyer. It features the alienating figure experiencing nightmares during his death throes as a result of what he insisted was liver cancer but was actually AIDS.

You could also say that...

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First Nighter: Sherie René Scott's "Whorl Inside a Loop," Ken Regan's "Sense of an Ending," Anna Ziegler's "A Delicate Ship"

(0) Comments | Posted August 27, 2015 | 8:31 PM

Not too long ago and for reasons not entirely altruistic, Broadway and off-Broadway veteran Sherie René Scott (Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Everyday Rapture) taught a 12-week prison course named--not by her--"Theatricalizing the Personal Narrative."

For someone who likes putting her life on stage (for instance, the above-mentioned Everyday Rapture, co-written with...

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First Nighter: A. R. Gurney's 'Love & Money' Doesn't Buy Happiness

(0) Comments | Posted August 24, 2015 | 9:08 PM

When Love & Money begins with Cornelia Cunningham (Maureen Anderman) confronting lawyer Harvey Abel (Joe Paulik) over the disposition of her will, it looks as if the new A. R. Gurney play is going to be substantive. Cornelia, you see, is planning to leave her impressively large gobs of money...

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First Nighter: The Royal Shakespeare Company's Outstanding 'Merchant of Venice' Is Screened

(0) Comments | Posted August 23, 2015 | 1:24 PM

No one who knows The Merchant of Venice is unaware of the famous and often considered odious character Shylock's being a Jew both sinned against and sinning. Rarely, however, have I seen a production of William Shakespeare's play where the anti-Semitism is more acute than in Deborah Findlay's superlative Royal...

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First Nighter: Philip Ridley's Mercury Fur Has a Dyspeptic Future

(0) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 10:59 PM

Fiction set in the future never seems to have nailed it right when the actual future rolls around. Maybe Jules Verne hit on a few things that came to pass, but how accurate is, say, something like the 1927 Metropolis or the Flash Gordon series or the Star Wars predictions...

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First Nighter: Deborah Zoe Laufer's 'Informed Consent' Gets Awfully Cute About Troubled Genomes

(0) Comments | Posted August 18, 2015 | 11:03 PM

Playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer and director Liesl Tommy want to assure you that science can be fun. In pursuit of the noble aim they've gone way out of their way to demonstrate that conviction while putting together Laufer's Informed Consent. The property, at the Duke, is based on an actual...

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First Nighter: McDonald, Swenson in O'Neill's 'Moon for the Misbegotten', Yasmina Reza's 'The Unexpected Man'

(0) Comments | Posted August 17, 2015 | 10:06 PM

As far as I know, the most chillingly romantic scene in American dramatic literature occurs in the second half of Eugene O'Neill's A Moon for the Misbegotten, a revival of which is now in its final week at the Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Josie Hogan (Audra McDonald) and James Tyrone Jr....

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First Nighter: Kevin Kerr's Affecting Period PIece Unity (1918)

(0) Comments | Posted August 12, 2015 | 3:34 PM

Props running to a few lamps, a ubiquitous wooden coffin, a bloody body bag and little more are all that's needed to make a strong impression by Project: Theatre. The play the troupe's lending its all and then some is Kevin Kerr's Unity (1918), as ingeniously directed by KJ Sanchez....

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First Nighter: William Shakespeare's and Daniel Sullivan's 'Cymbeline' Lights up Central Park

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2015 | 10:23 PM

There's a reliable rule of the stage according to which, if the actors are having fun, the audience absolutely will. That's what's rambunctiously going on throughout Daniel Sullivan's fooling around with William Shakespeare's late romance, Cymbeline, in the Public Theater's newest Central Park venture.

For his working with the Bard...

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First Nighter: Nifty Thriller 'Pimm's Cup,' Not-So-Nifty 'Happy 50ish' Musical

(0) Comments | Posted August 7, 2015 | 2:42 PM

It's a slick little thriller, Christopher Stetson Boal's Pimm's Mission, directed snugly by Terrence O'Brien at 59E59 as an Oberon Theatre Ensemble undertaking. By "little," I mean the drama packs its nastiness into only 60 minutes plus. If it were a 1940s cinema release, it would be the B movie...

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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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