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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: Len Cariou Grandly Celebrates 'Broadway & The Bard'

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2016 | 10:46 PM

Len Cariou bowed on Broadway in 1969 as Henry V and has been striding those boards ever since. In the intervening year's he's also made the large and small screens. Right now, he's prominent on CBS's Blue Bloods as the former New York City police chief/patriarch of the law-monitoring Reagan...

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First Nighter: Llewellyn Casey's Misguided "O, Earth," Nandita Shenoy's Misled "Washer/Dryer"

(0) Comments | Posted February 3, 2016 | 11:51 PM

Although you need to know that Casey Llewellyn's O, Earth, directed by Dustin Wills at HERE in a Foundry Theatre production, is as thickheaded a comedy(?) as you'd ever want to avoid, you might still be interested to continue reading the following. It may give you some idea of where,...

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First Nighter: Mfoniso Udofia's "Sojourners" Deserves a Welcome Stay

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2016 | 10:01 AM

In Sojourners, the stimulating new Playwrights Realm production at Peter Sharp, the first-generation Nigerian-American author Mfoniso Udofia never directly explains the title, but implicitly she lets us know again and again and again.

The word "sojourners" suggests people passing through a place and often, if not usually, as strangers to...

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First Nighter: Dominique Morisseau's "Skeleton Crew" a Full-Bodied Achievement

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2016 | 3:41 PM

When Rui Rita's lights go up -- but not too brightly -- on Skeleton Crew, Dominique Morisseau's excellent drama, at the Atlantic Theatre Company 16th Street space, Adesola Osakalumi, billed only as Performer, is downstage center and drenched in garish projections suggesting mechanical activity.

He immediately starts shifting in place...

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First Nighter: CSC's 'Mother Courage and Her Children' Fighting a Tough Battle

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Anyone these days even casually interested in theater news has to be aware of the recent developments with the Classic Stage Company's revival of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. Tonya Pinkins playing the title character left director Brian Kulick's production for what are often termed "artistic differences," a...

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First Nighter: Maurice Hines's 'Tappin' Thru Life' Is Tops, Mac Wellman's 'The Offending Gesture' Has Its Moments

(0) Comments | Posted January 11, 2016 | 10:09 PM

You say you want to be entertained? You say you want to see a performer working in the now fading 20th-century entertainment tradition, someone who worked alongside Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey and certainly learned from, among many others, Lena Horne and Sammy Davis Jr.?

You're in great luck. Maurice...

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First Nighter: The American Dance Machine at the Joyce Recalls Great Musical Comedy Dances Greatly

(0) Comments | Posted December 28, 2015 | 11:29 AM

As Americans, we're lucky to have an abundance of national treasures. Some treasures, however, are more prominent than others. One less regularly ballyhooed is The American Dance Machine, which was founded in 1976 by dancer Lee Theodore, perhaps best known as Anybodys in the original West Side Story production. It...

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First Nighter: Vincent Amelio's "How Alfo Learned to Love" Could Have Audiences Moonstruck

(0) Comments | Posted December 21, 2015 | 12:11 PM

How do you feel about the 1955 Oscar-winning movie Marty, with Oscar-winning Ernest Borgnine in the title role? What's your attitude towards the 1987 Moonstruck, for which Cher took home the coveted statuette as best actress? If you're devoted to either one or both, there's a strong possibility you'll get...

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First Nighter: The Rolin Jones-Billie Joe Armstrong 'These Paper Bullets!' Makes Much Ado Over The Beatles

(0) Comments | Posted December 16, 2015 | 8:17 AM

Since April 23, 2016 is the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death, it shouldn't be surprising that homages to the great playwright will be popping up right, left and center. Already available is Mike Bartlett's Charles III, a hot-ticket contemporary vision of the next English monarch's reign told with Shakespearean...

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First Nighter: DiDonato, Brownlee Lift Heavy 'La Donna del Lago' at the Met

(0) Comments | Posted December 14, 2015 | 4:32 PM

Since opera is first and foremost about the music -- and that certainly applies to Gioachino Rossini as much as or more than many composers -- it frequently means that the quality of any given production is secondary. Sometimes, however, that doesn't obtain.

Take, for example, the current and first-ever...

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First Nighter: Hoffman, Epperson Make Merry in 'Once Upon a Mattress'

(1) Comments | Posted December 14, 2015 | 12:14 AM

Bah humbug! to anyone who goes to the Transport Group Theatre Company's Once Upon a Mattress, at the Abrons Arts Center, and doesn't have a thoroughly entertaining time. Only Ebenezer Scrooge would leave dissatisfied.

Most of us know the leading role of Princess Winifred was initially performed by Carol Burnett,...

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First Nighter: Two Superlative Thornton Wilder One-Acts in "A Wilder Christmas," "Real Men: The Musical" Teases the Fellas Entertainingly, Jerry Mayer's "2 Across" Has Andrea McArdle, Kip Gilman Meeting Cute

(0) Comments | Posted December 10, 2015 | 11:54 PM

Perhaps Thornton Wilder's chief glory is his belief in and conviction about the celestial mundane. It's certainly the foundation on which he wrote his Pulitzer Prize-winning Our Town, where the daily life of Grover's Corners, New Hampshire is depicted over a few early 20th-century decades, but he'd already been tripping...

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First Nighter: Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'School of Rock' Doesn't Quite Rule

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2015 | 6:15 PM

The old theater saying that goes "If you have a great finish, you don't have to worry about anything else" comes close to working for the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Glenn Slater-Julian Fellowes musical adaptation of School of Rock, screenwriter Mike White's 2003 movie starring Jack Black.

And like just about every...

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First Nighter: Kathleen Chalfant Convincing as 'Rose' of the Kennedys, Steven Sater's Tedious 'New York Animals' With Burt Bacharach Tunes

(0) Comments | Posted November 29, 2015 | 10:34 PM

They never stop coming: the Dysfunctional American Family plays. In the last few weeks, we've had The Humans, Lost Girls and Taylor Mac's out-dysfunction-them-all Hir. You can also include Dada Woof Papa Hot and Steve, now that the Supreme Court has legalized gay marriages and as a seeming result, works...

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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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