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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: Albee's 'Delicate Balance' Not Entirely Balanced

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2014 | 11:04 PM

Edward Albee has often, if not always, written about educated people whose learning has devolved into cutting banter as the years have marched on. They've honed their intelligence in such a way that they can be sarcastic and cynical on an impressively erudite level. From time to time as they...

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First Nighter: Revised Side Show Musical Still Side-Tracked

(0) Comments | Posted November 20, 2014 | 2:47 PM

Broadway musicals have such a hold over their most ardent aficionados that pre-opening buzz can reach ear-splittingly high decibel levels. Side Show, which began its Manhattan-bound trek in La Jolla with a subsequent Kennedy Center stop before arriving at the St. James, certainly got that kind of chatter going 19...

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First Nighter: Sharyn Rothstein's 'By the Water' Makes Strong Waves

(0) Comments | Posted November 18, 2014 | 11:48 PM

Not that this'll ease those still suffering the devastating Hurricane Sandy effects, but it turns out the monstrously ill 2012 wind has blown a bit of good. By the Water, Sharyn Rothstein's drama at Manhattan Theatre Club's Studio at Stage II, is about a Staten Island family having immense difficulty...

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First Nighter: Simon Stephens' Punk Rock Rocks Steady and Unsteady

(0) Comments | Posted November 17, 2014 | 9:21 PM

Without an excessive amount of ballyhoo, Simon Stephens has become one of the most important contemporary English playwrights.

Marianne Elliott's brilliant production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time packing them in on Broadway uses Stephens' adaptation from the Mark Haddon novel. His version of Anton Chekhov's...

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First Nighter: Heidi Schreck's 'Grand Concourse, 'En Garde Arts 'Basetrack,' Alda and Bergen in 'Love Letters'

(0) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 9:46 PM

What Heidi Schreck's Grand Concourse, at Playwrights Horizons, is really about is only revealed in the final minute. So be assured the wonderfully eye-widening revelation won't be described here. Until then, it could be said Schreck is writing about hope and the slim, but not impossible, chance that a troubled...

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First Nighter: David Auburn's Lost Lake Not Fully Found

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 11:28 PM

Logan (John Hawkes) and Veronica (Tracie Thoms) don't exactly meet cute. They meet awkward. They meet uncertain. They meet at cross-purposes. And they stay that way and don't stay that way in David Auburn's not entirely absorbing Lost Lake at Manhattan Theatre Club's City Center Stage 1.

Where they meet...

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First Nighter: Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk Has Her Way at the Met

(0) Comments | Posted November 11, 2014 | 2:59 PM

When in 1934 Dmitri Shostakovich, not yet 30, composed Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk, he provided music for all sorts of special occasions. For just a sampling, he wrote music to have sex behind a refrigerator by, music to be buried by, music to have high anxiety by and music to...

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First Nighter: 'The Band Wagon' Is Worth Jumping on

(0) Comments | Posted November 9, 2014 | 1:22 PM

The list of delightful ingredients in the Encores! Series revival of The Band Wagon with its Arthur Schwartz-Howard Dietz score and--when it bowed in 1931--its Dietz-George S. Kaufman libretto is so long that not only is it pleasing the crowds attending at City Center, but it has the usual show-biz-insider...

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First Nighter: London Gets Musicalized With Sunny Afternoon, Made in Dagenham, Shakespeare in Love"

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 4:34 PM

Because jukebox musicals by definition have marquee-name value, they're not likely any time soon to stop playing -- and costing much more than 25 or 50 cents a selection. The latest is Sunny Afternoon, at the Harold Pinter, which is about Ray Davies and the Kinks and, more to the...

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First Nighter: England Looks at Itself on London Stages

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 4:38 AM

On the evidence alone of Mike Bartlett's volatile Cock and Bull, we know the playwright doesn't shrink from controversy. As a latest foray into chancy territory, he's screwed his chutzpah to the sticking post and written a Shakespearean gander at what might happen when Prince Charles, now 65 in real...

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First Nighter: England Looks at Itself on London Stages

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 4:03 AM

On the evidence alone of Mike Bartlett's volatile Cock and Bull, we know the playwright doesn't shrink from controversy. As a latest foray into chancy territory, he's screwed his chutzpah to the sticking post and written a Shakespearean gander at what might happen when Prince Charles, now 65 in real...

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First Nighter: Bloody, Bloody London Stages Rule

(0) Comments | Posted November 1, 2014 | 6:56 AM

In all my theater-going days, I don't remember seeing a production that would likely give me nightmares. The thought had never crossed my mind. Until, that is, I went to the Pleasance Company and witnessed The Curing Room, David Ian Lee's import from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Playwright Lee had...

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First Nighter: Stoppard's 'Real Thing,' McNally's 'Lips Together, Teeth Apart'

(0) Comments | Posted October 30, 2014 | 8:53 PM

When Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announced they were consciously uncoupling, you can bet that not a single playwright saw the situation as raw material for a new work. No, sir. No, ma'am. On the evidence of plays currently swamping us, dramatists are only interested in couples coming apart with...

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First Nighter: Sting's 'The Last Ship' in Full Sail

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2014 | 11:48 PM

Not to be foolishly subtle about it: If a better new musical than The Last Ship appears on the horizon this Broadway season, tuner lovers best consider themselves extravagantly lucky.

The production, at the Neil Simon, with score by Sting, libretto by Tony winners John Logan and Brian Yorkey, direction...

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First Nighter: Ivo van Hove's Strong Take on 'Angels in America'

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2014 | 11:22 AM

Since Tony Kushner could be considered to know best, why not quote what he says he admired after seeing Ivo van Hove's revival of the playwright's Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music: "It had this feeling of being stripped to its absolute bare bones."


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First Nighter: Ayad Akhtar's Pulitzer-Prized Disgraced in a Welcome Return

(0) Comments | Posted October 24, 2014 | 10:45 AM

If you go by several adamant playwrights, it's a terrible idea for married couples to get together over an after-hours drink or dinner or for a casual weekend or a serious discussion about children. Nothing good ever comes of it.

Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is the template,...

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First Nighter: The Death of Klinghoffer on and Off Stage at the Met

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2014 | 6:05 PM

Whatever else you might think about The Death of Klinghoffer, John Adams's 1991 opera with Alice Goodman's libretto, there's one thing it is not: anti-Semitic. By no stretch of the desperate and frightened imagination is it the work of anti-Semites. It does, however, depict anti-Semites as characters who express their...

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First Nighter: Amusing "Billy & Ray," Affecting "brownsville song (b-side for tray)"

(0) Comments | Posted October 21, 2014 | 1:08 AM

The Billy & Ray of the vague title Mike Bencivenga gives his play at the Vineyard are Billy Wilder and Raymond Chandler. By practically sheer accident the two men--and only after director Wilder had a rift with longtime partner Charles Brackett--collaborated in 1943-44 on the screen adaptation of James M....

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First Nighter: Emily Dickinson, Dorothy Parker Trod Local Boards

(0) Comments | Posted October 19, 2014 | 11:00 PM

The Belle of Amherst--in which Emily Dickinson chats volubly and possibly in contrast to the common perception of her--was written by William Luce for Julie Harris and was presented under Charles Nelson Reilly's shrewdly creative direction. As a result of Harris' 1976 appearance in it on Broadway, she won the...

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First Nighter: Gotham Opera Company Enlivens Two Martinu Works

(0) Comments | Posted October 18, 2014 | 7:41 PM

Leave it to Neal Goren. He's cherry-picked Bohuslav Martinu's comic one-acts Alexandre Bis and Comedy on the Bridge as the first of the Gotham Opera Company's 2014-15 season, and he's owed three or more cheers for doing so.

It's a risky notion, since the Czech-born Martinu (1890-1959, who spent much...

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