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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: Red Bull Theater's "School for Scandal" Resoundingly Rings the Bell

(0) Comments | Posted April 26, 2016 | 10:10 AM

Jesse Berger has been devoting his Red Bull Theater company to presenting first-rate productions of the classics, which isn't the sort of thing that happens all that frequently on these shores, certainly not often enough that anyone can become complacent about it. Now, at the Lucille Lortel, he's emerged with...

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First Nighter: Musicalized "American Psycho" Frighteningly Beautiful to Behold but Insufficiently Psychotic

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2016 | 11:51 PM

No, American Psycho, an imported Almeida and Headlong production, is not about the current Republican presidential campaign. On the other hand, yes, it is very much Sweeney Todd for the 21st century. But while it deals with a compulsive protagonist of the homicidal kind, is it compulsory viewing for the...

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First Nighter: Alice Birch's 'Revolt, She Said, Revolt Again' Introduces the Feminist Absurd

(0) Comments | Posted April 19, 2016 | 10:48 PM

Yoo-hoo, theater cognoscenti! Remember Theater of the Absurd, the new strain of writing that--to fall into reviewer's clichés--burst on the scene in the 1950s? That's when playwrights like Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco began making names for themselves.

Don't look now, but it's back as Theater of the Absurd 21st-Century-style--and...

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First Nighter: Agatha Christie's "and Then There Were None" in Smashing New Treatment

(0) Comments | Posted April 19, 2016 | 4:24 PM

According to some statistics, And Then There Were None is bestselling Agatha Christie's all-time bestseller. It's been filmed more than once, perhaps the favorite adaptation until recently being the 1945 20th Century Fox version.

Now Acorn is putting in a bid to snare the "favorite" title with a version shown...

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First Nighter: Dena Blizzard's 'One Funny Mother,' Neal Brennan's '3 Mics'

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2016 | 9:37 PM

It's been a while since Roseanne Barr flaunted her domestic-goddess self before the public. Therefore, room should exist for Dena Blizzard, as Miss New Jersey of 1995, no less, who's now cracking wise about her post-beauty-pageant home life in One Funny Mother, at New World Stages.

A Philadelphia working mother...

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First Night: Van Gogh Lovers Will Want to See Leonard Nimoy's 'Vincent'

(0) Comments | Posted April 13, 2016 | 5:26 PM

If you're searching for an example of genuine brotherly love, you don't start with Cain and Abel. Perhaps the choicest place to look is Vincent and Theo Van Gogh.

Although Vincent only did one portrait of his brother, he wrote hundreds of letters--often asking for funds, granted--in which it makes...

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First Nighter: Ike Holter's 'Exit Strategy' About Failing Public Schools Not Sufficiently Strategic

(0) Comments | Posted April 12, 2016 | 10:43 PM

Since Ike Holter's Exit Strategy, a Primary Stages production at the Cherry Lane, takes place in a foundering Chicago high school called Tumbldn, you wouldn't be surprised to encounter at least a few students dealing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. But in his cast of characters Holter only includes one...

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First Nighter: The Royal Shakespeare Company Turns Four Shakespeare History Plays into Solid Gold

(0) Comments | Posted April 5, 2016 | 4:14 PM

Anyone devoted to William Shakespeare and, specifically, to his history plays had better make plans instantly to see The Royal Shakespeare Company's King and Country: Shakespeare's Great Cycle of Kings, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey. It's guided with thrilling pomp and virtuosity and just about flawlessly by company...

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First Nighter: A. Rey Pamatmat's Two-Families Drama "House Rules," Peter Mills Teams With Long-Gone Carlo Gesualdo in "Death for Five Voices"

(0) Comments | Posted April 4, 2016 | 11:00 AM

Why deal with one dysfunctional family when you can handle two? A. Rey Pamatmat apparently considered the question and decided there was no reason to stick to a limit. Hence House Rules, empathetically directed by Ralph B. Pena at HERE, in which Vera (Mia Katigbak) and feuding daughters Momo (Tiffany...

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First Nighter: Ivo van Hove Skews Arthur Miller's "The Crucible"

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2016 | 7:22 AM

It's only a few months since Ivo van Hove brought his startlingly strong production of Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge from London to Broadway. On its heels -don't forget the View From the Bridge cast performed in bare feet--he's directed The Crucible, Miller's sly take on the 1950s...

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First Nighter: Tarell Alvin McCraney's 'Head of Passes' Is the Play of the Year, With Phylicia Rashad Giving the Performance of the Year

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2016 | 10:50 PM

If superlative acting interests you -- and you probably wouldn't be reading this if it didn't -- you're well advised to make every effort you can to see Phylicia Rashad as Shelah in Tarell Alvin McCraney's Head of Passes, at the Public. Rashad is all but literally bringing down the...

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First Nighter: Patrick Wilson in Nassim Soleimanpour's "White Rabbit Red Rabbit," Andrew Schneider in "Youarenowhere"

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2016 | 3:25 PM

The thin program for Nassim Soleimanpour's White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, at the Westside Theatre, includes a prominently placed advertisement for PEN International that features a photograph of Arthur Miller and a quote from him about the organization's signal importance for writers everywhere.

Anyone noticing the page before the performance and...

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First Nighter: Lucy Prebble's "The Effect" Smartly Questions Scientific Experimentation

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2016 | 3:46 PM

Lucy Prebble, who fiercely took on big business in the rousing Enron, is now grappling with science and scientific experimentation. She targets it in The Effect, an impressive, if not entirely convincing, production, directed fiercely by David Cromer. He's doing his handiwork at the Barrow Street Theatre, where he fared...

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First Nighter: Timothy Olyphant in Kenneth Lonergan's "Hold On to Me Darling," Marin Ireland in Martyna Majok's "Ironbound"

(1) Comments | Posted March 19, 2016 | 9:57 AM

With his new Hold On to Me Darling, at the Atlantic, Kenneth Lonergan has written one of the season's most head-scratching plays. That's if it's not the most head-scratching entry, as directed--but not necessarily thoroughly helped along--by Neil Pepe.

Lonergan's first act is little short of sensational. He introduces country-music...

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First Nighter: George Bernard Shaw's Little-Seen "Widowers' House" Viewed Smartly Now

(0) Comments | Posted March 13, 2016 | 7:34 PM

When George Bernard Shaw, who had strong opinions about what constituted potent theater, wrote his first play, Widowers' Houses, in 1892, he came out swinging. David Staller's TACT-Gingold Theatrical Group co-production, at the Beckett, doesn't duck those punches, either, although on Brian Prather's light-hearted gray-and-white set with its five filigree...

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First Nighter: Anna Ziegler's 'Boy' Is a Smart, Fresh Transgender-Play Twist

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2016 | 9:23 PM

The current trend towards transgender plays gets a heart-jolting spin by way of Anna Ziegler's Boy, another of her Ensemble Studio Theatre/Alfred P. Sloan-backed plays and now under Keen Company auspices at the Clurman. This time the unexpected close look at gender-bending that occurs--and is based on a true story--doesn't...

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First Nighter: 8 Plays Worth Seeing in London Now

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2016 | 2:08 PM

Common wisdom stateside about theater here is that it's all first-rate. Not always so. Like New York City there are good productions and bad productions, and on any theater-going spree a fan makes the results can vary from generally good to so-so to disappointingly poor. The rambling I've done this...

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First Nighter: Shakespeare Globe Smartly Does the Bard's Jacobean Works

(0) Comments | Posted March 3, 2016 | 2:14 AM

LONDON -- During the winter months the Shakespeare's Globe crowd--as the current artistic director Dominic Dromgoole is about to depart--is bringing William Shakespeare indoors. Rather than offering four of the Bard's works in the open Elizabethan round, the deciders are presenting Pericles, The Tempest, Cymbeline and The Winter's Tale in...

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First Nighter: Hot Times Right Now at London's National Theatre

(0) Comments | Posted March 2, 2016 | 2:28 AM

LONDON--For whatever reason--recent artistic director Rufus Norris's enthusiastic approach?--things at the National Theatre are popping. The following is only a sampling of what's going on, just about all of it hot stuff:

As You Like It--At first I wasn't certain William Shakespeare's comedy, with Polly Findlay directing, was going to...

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First Nighter: Mike Birbiglia Thanks God for Jokes, Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2016 | 9:04 AM

Mike Birbiglia is an immensely likable guy, the sort you think would make a great friend. Anyway, that's what I was considering throughout his current--and third--stint at the Lynn Redgrave Theater, this one dubbed Thank God for Jokes.

I suppose he and his producers would like to think of the...

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