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Justin Townsend

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

David Finkle | Posted 10.09.2015 | Arts
David Finkle

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.

First Nighter: Peter Sarsgaard in Shakespeare's and Austin Pendleton's "Hamlet"

David Finkle | Posted 06.16.2015 | Arts
David Finkle

It's surprising how many actors appearing as William Shakespeare's Hamlet don't take heed of the young Dane's advice to the players about speaking trippingly on the tongue and not sawing the air. They utter the sage admonition but then go about ignoring it.

First Nighter: 'A Night With Janis Joplin' Gets Only a Piece of Her Heart

David Finkle | Posted 01.23.2014 | Arts
David Finkle

Whenever performers -- such as Mary Bridget Davies in A Night With Janis Joplin, at the Lyceum -- impersonate iconic figures, they're going to be compared to the original, whether they like it or not. They certainly can't be surprised when they are.

First Nighter: Anne Washburn's "Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play" Does Go On and On and...

David Finkle | Posted 11.15.2013 | Arts
David Finkle

"I've never actually seen an episode of The Simpsons," Gibson (Gibson Frazier) admits in the first section of Anne Washburn's Mr. Burns, A Post-Electr...

First Nighter: Bertolt Brecht, Brian Kulick Collaborate on "The Caucasian Chalk Circle"

David Finkle | Posted 07.30.2013 | Arts
David Finkle

For some reason, directors like to take liberties with Bertolt Brecht. Perhaps because the German playwright placed so many of his plays in exotic pl...