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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: Nick Jones's 'Important Hats of the Twentieth Century' an Important Comedy of the Twenty-First

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2015 | 10:40 PM

Granted, Nick Jones's Important Hats of the Twentieth Century is probably 15 or 20 minutes too long, should probably be played in one act instead of two and goes a bit wilder than it needs to in the second half. None of that, however, detracts significantly from one of the...

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First Nighter: John Yearley's "The Unrepeatable Moment" Full of Enthralling Moments

(0) Comments | Posted November 21, 2015 | 8:07 AM

Although John Yearley has been writing plays for some time, he's not especially well known--certainly not as well known as he should be on the evidence of the six short plays composed over the years 2002-2015 that are included in The Unrepeatable Moment, a bracing and disturbing collection at The...

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First Nighter: Willis, Metcalf Make Stephen King's "Misery" Extremely Pleasurable

(0) Comments | Posted November 15, 2015 | 11:02 PM

Stage thrillers come along once in a very blue moon--and good ones in even fewer extremely blue moons. In the last several decades we've only had Dial M for Murder, Witness for the Prosecution, Write Me a Murder, Wait Until Dark, Night Watch and Deathtrap. (If there are others, they're...

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First Nighter: Beauty Salon Crime Comedy "Shear Madness" is, as Advertised, Sheer Madness

(0) Comments | Posted November 14, 2015 | 12:16 PM

Shear Madness has just arrived in Manhattan for the first time after playing for decades(!) in Boston. Curiously, people who hear about it seem to expect not to like it, and, as I arrived, I was among them. How appealing does a seeming farce sound that's been fruitcaked with broad...

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First Nighter: Ivo van Hove Does Wonders With Arthur Miller's View From the Bridge-

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2015 | 10:51 PM

The tic I find annoying in the work of very busy director Ivo van Hove is happily suppressed for his revival of A View From the Bridge, birthday-boy Arthur Miller's unrelenting, as usual, play. That's why I don't hesitate to call this production the best he's ever targeted for the...

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First Nighter: "Henry IV" at St. Ann's Warehouse, "Henry V" on Screens Reign Supreme

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2015 | 8:07 PM

Director Phyllida Lloyd's inspiration for her all-women Shakespeare productions -- first Julius Caesar and now Henry IV, both at St. Ann's Warehouse -- wasn't simply to have her actors perform a William Shakespeare play but to have them appear as prison inmates putting on a William Shakespeare play.

The advantage...

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First Nighter: John Pollono's 'Lost Girls' With Piper Perabo; Taylor Mac's 'Hir' With Kristine Nielsen

(0) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 7:45 PM

In contemporary writing for the theater, it can sometimes seem as if there's an undeclared competition to determine which playwright can produce the most dysfunctional American family play out of all the dysfunctional American family plays going.

The first of this week's competing entries is John Pollono's Lost Girls, at...

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First Nighter: 'Allegiance' Attempts to Musicalize World War II's Japanese-American Internment Camps

(2) Comments | Posted November 8, 2015 | 9:45 PM

We all know about the importance of being earnest, but it's likely we all underestimate the importance of not being earnest. That importance struck me while watching Allegiance, the new musical about the Japanese-American internment camps during World War II, with book by Mark Acito, Jay Kuo and Lorenzo Thione...

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First Nighter: The Gloria and Emilio Estefan Musical 'On Your Feet!' Rhythm Is Calculated to Get You

(2) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 9:46 PM

Can a Celine Dion Broadway extravaganza be far behind? Or, for that matter, a Taylor Swift musical retrospective? It certainly looks as if a trend is gathering with Beautiful, celebrating the life and canon of Carole King, still going strong at the Stephen Sondheim and, at the Marquis now, On...

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First Nighter: Keira Knightley as Emile Zola's 'Therese Raquin,' Chekhov's 'Seagull' Countrified as 'Songbird,' 'Catch the Butcher' Not a Great Catch

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 12:03 AM

Apparently, director Evan Cabnet believes the difference between comedy and tragedy is that the former is played fast and the latter is played slowly--and not just slowly-slowly but at the sluggish pace of a snail crossing the pavement on a hot summer's day.

At least, that's how he unfolds Helen...

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First Nighter: Annaleigh Ashford as A. R. Gurney's Talking Dog Runs Away With 'Sylvia'

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

When it gets to coming on strong these days, few are coming on stronger than Annaleigh Ashford.

She was a Tony, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle awards nominee two years ago for Kinky Boots (after appearances in Legally Blonde, Wicked and Hair) and then won the Tony, Drama Desk...

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First Nighter: Michael Mayer's Casually Histrionic Take on Verdi's Rigoletto Back at the Met

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2015 | 2:14 PM

Michael Mayer's updating Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto in a more or less contemporary Las Vegas setting of Christine Jones's devising -- with neon galore that lighting designer Kevin Adams has fun with (particularly during the stormy fourth act) -- lends the histrionic drama an alluring air of 21st-century off-handedness.

For instance,...

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First Nighter: 'Trip of Love' Revue Trips Up; César Alvarez's 'Futurity' Is Promising

(0) Comments | Posted October 19, 2015 | 9:22 PM

In a Trip of Love program note, creator-director-choreographer James Walski asserts that his expensive-looking entry is intended as a return to the long-forgotten Broadway revue. Though that same program specifies "TIME: Now; PLACE: Here," the time is much more directly the 1960's and the place is the decade's television variety...

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First Nighter: Topher Payne's "Perfect Arrangement" Less Than Perfect

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2015 | 8:05 PM

Topher Payne sets Perfect Arrangement, directed by Michael Barakiva at the Duke, in 1950 Washington, D. C. when Commie baiting and routing out supposed deviants of any stripe were becoming federal government obsessions.

To particularize the frightening situation, playwright Payne introduces two married couples, Bob Martindale (Robert Eli) and Millie...

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First Nighter: James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson Play 'The Gin Game'; Oren Safdie's Unseemly 'Unseamly'

(0) Comments | Posted October 15, 2015 | 11:39 AM

If you think you're about to hear anything critical of the two old pros James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson in director Leonard Foglia's revival of D. L. Coburn's 1977 comedy, The Gin Game, at the Golden Theatre, you better think again. As two lonely residents at a home for...

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First Nighter: Marlo Thomas Strong in Joe DiPietro's 'Clever Little Lies,' Clive Owens, Eve Best, Kelly Reilly Undone in Harold Pinter's 'Old Times'

(0) Comments | Posted October 13, 2015 | 1:30 PM

When Joe DiPietro's Clever Little Lies gets going at the Westside Theatre, it almost immediately gives the impression that a sitcom pilot is about to unfold on stage -- and not just because onetime That Girl Marlo Thomas, who makes a later entrance, heads the cast and Greg (Mary Hartman...

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First Nighter: Robert O'Hara's 'Barbecue' Sizzles a Bit, Sam Shepard's "Fool for Love" is Catnip for Actors

(0) Comments | Posted October 9, 2015 | 10:56 AM

The first act of Robert (Bootycandy) O'Hara's Barbecue consists of four scenes, two each in alternation, depicting a lower-class white family and a lower-class black family on what looks like a picnic in a shady Middle America forest preserve.

Curiously, the five members of both families, on vivid display at...

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First NIghter: Two Big Treats at London's Globe, Two Mistreats Elsewhere

(0) Comments | Posted October 7, 2015 | 7:27 PM

LONDON -- Even before William Shakespeare's so-called "problem play" Measure for Measure gets properly underway at the Globe, director (and company artistic director) Dominic Dromgoole has loosed on the audience what looks and sounds like a musical 16th-century orgy attended by various bawds and Lords (Lawds?).

Then Duke Vincentio (the...

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First Nighter: Simon Russell Beale and Other London Come-Ons

(0) Comments | Posted September 29, 2015 | 6:34 AM

LONDON--Though Samuel Foote is not remembered today and therefore another instance in the annals of the millions once famous and now forgotten, he was celebrated in 18th-century London as a wit as well as an actor. Though an Oxford undergraduate and debtors prison inmate three times before he was 25,...

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First Nighter: Nicole Kidman in "Photograph 51" and Other London Recommendations

(0) Comments | Posted September 26, 2015 | 6:29 AM

LONDON--By now it's well known to theatergoers that Nicole Kidman is back on stage and in Anna Ziegler's Photograph 51 after a 17-year lapse. She's returned in a piece noticeably different from her last offering, The Blue Room, where she gained beaucoup publicity for appearing for a few brief seconds,...

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