The Arsonists - Azuka Theatre

The Arsonists - Azuka Theatre

The Arsonists


Click here to read the Denver Center feature by John Moore

Click here to hear the radio interview on INSIGHT with Beth Ruyak on NPR (Sacramento)

Click here to read the feature in Phindie.

Click here to read the feature from NPR (WHYY).

Click here to read the feature in City Beat

Click here to hear the interview on Alaska Public Media (radio broadcast)


"Spellbinding...Hypnotic...Exquisitely written...The opening scene...would be equally at home in a Cormac McCarthy novel or a hardboiled HBO series. And I mean that as a serious explores the fine lines separating parent and child, life and death, earthliness and eternity, letting go and moving on, profanity and poetry, the grotesque and the sublime." -Juneau Empire (Alaska)

"For those who are seeking the bold and the unusual...A play like The Arsonists is a rare find." -Connecticut Post-Chronicle

“A hypnotic, surprising journeyradiant, lyrical language…an amazing concentration of potent imagery, in a way that keeps your brain humming. In addition to the compelling father-daughter theme, there’s a ghost story, ending with a glimmer of redemption. But The Arsonists is not at all like Jacob Marley addressing Scrooge from beyond the grave. This is a haunting of a very different sort.” –Capital Public Radio (Sacramento)

"Thrown Stone has turned up the heat, setting the atmosphere ablaze with an emotionally intense drama that ignites the mind, and fires up the senses...The music, performed live by the two cast members, has a sound that can be described as a cross between old hymns, folk, and deep southern country gospel...Part of the beauty of this show is that the actual situation depicted is left open to the interpretation of the audience. My personal view is that M is so mentally deranged that she is having delusions of seeing her late father, and that H's entire existence during the time of the show is strictly taking place in M's mind." -Broadway World (Thrown Stone production in CT)

"From the opening moments of The Arsonists, playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger pulls the audience into the deep, dark recesses of the Northern Florida swamps and its murky, quirky inhabitants...a strange and beautiful weaving-together of Southern Gothic tales and the Greek mythology Electra" -Sacramento News

A searing family drama...A remarkable work with roots that stretch back to Greek drama but is as contemporary as today...The more I think about this play, the more I appreciate it and want to see it again. That is not always the case, believe me. I’m glad somebody wrote this—specifically Jacqueline Goldfinger—and that Capital Stage encourages and performs such new works.” -Sacramento Press

“This is not a ‘wordy’ play, but each bit of dialogue is pure gold...The finale, in particular, is spectacular." -Davis Enterprise

"Arsonists sparks provocative ideas about life, death and family legacies...playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger’s script comes across as both challenging and engrossing...a play that dares to take on the grandest of themes — life, death and the legacy our actions and love bestow upon our children." -Sacramento Bee

"Jacqueline Goldfinger’s spellbinding new play...The Arsonists, put me in mind of a kind of gender-reversed Sam Shepard—especially Shepard’s early collaborative work with Patti Smith...As in Shepard, there is a sense that love, loss, and betrayal are inseparable...What makes The Arsonists so extraordinary is in part its contradictory oddness. It’s realistic and gritty, but also beautifully poetic; epic in scale, but it runs only 70 minutes. There’s very little plot, but every line tells a story. By the time we reach the finale, the tone has shifted considerably. There is a sense here that the playwright honors a history of theater (the Greeks, Shepard, also Eugene O’Neill’s Mourning Becomes Electra), but it’s also contemporary. Best of all, Goldfinger’s voice is distinctly, wonderfully her own." -Philadelphia Magazine

"The Arsonists packs a strong punch...the play is edgy and thought-provoking...This is not a play for the faint of heart." -Broadway World (Azuka Theatre production in PA)

"Haunting, and atmospheric, Jacqueline Goldfinger’s compelling new play, The Arsonists, is premiering at Azuka Theatre....The play exists on two planes, the real and the psychological, and Goldfinger leaves it to us to figure out whether we’re watching some fascinating aftermath of a crime or the torment in a woman’s mind. But that’s the dramatic pleasure of subtext: You get both." -The Philadelphia Inquirer

"Haunting and primal...the play with music is at once earthy and otherworldly, acutely poignant, at times comic and often hair-raising, as the desperate characters struggle with letting go and moving on...Goldfinger employs language that strikes a balance between the profane and the poetic...The Arsonists is an impactful spine-chilling meditation on the age-old themes of life and death, the power that nature holds over humanity, and the ties that bind father to daughter. That’s a lot to think about in just over an hour, and to continue to ponder long after you leave the theater." -DC Metro Arts

"Heartbreaking and atmospheric...The Arsonists shoulders enormous emotional weight. That’s a testament to Goldfinger’s carefully balanced array of music and metaphor, as well as the raw emotional expression of the actors...The Arsonists burns as fiercely as the name suggests, making it well worth attending. Fair warning, though: if, like me, you’re the father of a daughter, you will need to hug her after this play, even if that means waking her up a bit too far past her bedtime." -ArtWave

"The Arsonists: A Love Poem...A Must See...It captures the largeness of life, of feeling, and how even after death you continue to sing the story of your ancestors, sometimes turning the daily pains into joy." -League of Cincinnati Theatres

"Compelling...How many times have you heard someone say they wished they could have one more hour, one more day with a loved one who had passed from sight? If you had that hour, how would you fill it?  Mundane, ordinary tasks? Reminiscing about the past? Preparing the one left behind for the future? Has the daughter in this case found a way to have that one more hour or has she conjured the whole episode in her mind? Is there one last thing she needs to do for her father or does she wish there was one last thing she could do for him? Is her final angry act her poetic way of saying “goodbye” to her father or to her lifestyle? These are questions the playwright lets you work out for yourself...a gritty, bold group of story-tellers...A WOW factor of 8.5!!"

"Goldfinger's language is poetic, striking and often highly evocative...there’s a kind of eternity written into the script." Westword (Denver)

"My strong reaction to The Arsonists as it rocked and reeled on that dilapidated shack of a set was 'How nice that someone else is writing Sam Shepard plays now that Sam Shepard is dead.' The play is a physical and philosophical sparring match between a father and daughter, infused with supernatural elements, drinking, swearing, fire imagery and long interludes of live music." -Hartford Courant (From JG: I know that Shepard comment might have been intended as snarky, but I am thrilled to be compared to Shepard. I love his work.)

"Edgy...nuanced...Inspired by the Greek tragedy Electra, which finds Electra mourning for her father’s death and mindful of the suffering she experienced at her mother’s commands, likewise, this striking play becomes a new and novel American play. Instead of a Greek chorus trying to soothe M as it did for Electra, she picks up her guitar and sings...The music in this dramatic and touching play moves the action forward. It is a musical mix of gospel and folk beautifully and passionately performed by both M and H...Everything about this production is blood red hot." -Ridgefield Press (Connecticut)

  Skin and Bone  - Azuka Theatre

Skin and Bone - Azuka Theatre

Skin & Bone

Named "Best of Philadelphia Theater 2014" by the Philadelphia Weekly


"[Goldfinger] has displayed a knack for blackly comic eccentricity, decay, and alienation the wretched likes of which haven't been seen since William Faulkner. In the dark genre, her plays' flippant humor, the genuine laugh lines, are a treat." -Philadelphia Inquirer

“Jacqueline Goldfinger returned to her southern Gothic roots with this wonderfully depraved affair. A unique blend of the most terrible and tender sides of human behavior, Skin and Bone was a collision between Arsenic and Old Lace and The Dukes of Hazzard. Under Allison Heishman’s direction, Maureen Torsney-Weir and the hugely underrated Drucie McDaniel portrayed two sisters with more grit and vigor than many male characters could muster.” -Philadelphia Weekly

“How much one considers Jacqueline Goldfinger’s provocative new play Skin & Bone a comedy depends on where each person draws the line between funny and sick. It’s a balancing act that countless horror movies can’t achieve, but one that the Florida native, as Azuka Theatre’s skillfully produced premiere shows, handles with skill and verve. I found the play humorous, but with a darker vibe that is deliciously complex and eerie; it’s the kind of comedy that elicits uncomfortable titters and gasps, not belly laughs….What’s really special, though, is seeing a great new play by an up-and-coming local playwright featuring women characters of an age too seldom portrayed, played by fine actresses too seldom seen.” -CityPaper

“Playwright Jacqueline Goldfinger goes beyond the loose academic associations of Southern Gothic literature and creates a play that pays close attention to the tradition and its many quirks. Goldfinger produces the genuine article where a lesser playwright might have lapsed into imitation or even parody; Skin and Bone is a slice of heightened reality where both the weirdness and the emotional resonance of the SoGoth classics are expanded to fit the stage.” -Phindie

Arsenic and Old Lace meets Psycho…Goldfinger has a lot brewing in her play which she writes as a homage to Southern Gothic, a style of storytelling that accentuates eccentric traits of seemingly ordinary people and packs a few surprises, usually of a grisly sort, along the way. ‘Gristly’ sorts would probably be more accurate in terms of Skin & Bone. Goldfinger takes her time revealing pertinent information, entertaining with snappy, snappish dialogue between the sisters between salient comments that show something more is afoot than seems immediately apparent. The result is a funny, diverting play.” -NealsPaper

  Slip/Shot - Flashpoint Theatre

Slip/Shot - Flashpoint Theatre



Named one of the "Top 10 Productions of 2012" by Philadelphia Weekly

Click here to read the Philadelphia Inquirer Feature

Click here to read the script and critical commentary as well as see images from the world premiere production in Blackbird Literary Magazine


Slip/Shot is decidedly Southern Gothic with an ethereal lyricism that evokes Faulkner, McCullers, Williams." -American Theatre Magazine.

"Flashpoint excels with Slip/Shot. This beautifully crafted and intensely moving drama…is served by a powerful cast and an imaginative and skilled director.” -Philadelphia Inquirer

“Searing drama…movingly premiered…Celebrate the power of hope.” -Philadelphia City Paper

A remarkable new play…go to Slip/Shot and be dazzled by Goldfinger’s perceptive dialogue, by characters who are intelligently and distinctly drawn, and by finely detailed observations that make the sparsely lit and designed play seem uncommonly vivid.” -Talkin’ Broadway

“Goldfinger has a unique poetic voice. She isn’t writing just to entertain an audience (though she manages to do so); she is writing to pose questions that have no quick, simple answers. In Slip/Shot , Goldfinger asks us to consider the basis of our suspicions and the impact America’s legacy of racism has on both our individual and national identity.” -Philadelphia Weekly

“Jacqueline Goldfinger’s writing in Slip/Shot is assured and unhurried, offering heft, a feel for the South, and a good story. As her sheriff (Keith Conallen) says, ‘Nothin’ folks like better than a juicy story.’” -CurtainUp Online

Painful and potent drama…we have a historic homily about family, trauma, the reality of things falling apart, and the way we grow and heal once the dust has settled and the sun rises once again. The 1960′s may be an extremely popular era these days, but the reality of this play cuts through the nostalgia of flipped hair and circle skirts, and focuses on the humans at the heart of the drama…It’s filled with darkness and the shadows of hate, but it’s also beautifully nuanced and celebrates the power that love gives us to let go, and move on…Those looking for easy answers on “how to solve the problem or racism” or “whose fault is whose” wont find anything of the sort in Goldfinger’s work. Instead, she gives her audience an examination of tragedy as it exists in life, using a painful accident and it’s ramifications to look at humanity, family and the way our experiences inform our entire lives. All of the characters in this world are valid complete human beings, regardless of how they ultimately decide to deal with Monroe’s death, and as the play ends, we are left with a sense of lingering sorrow and that all-pervasive villain hope. False or true, it’s what keeps us going, moving forward, into the future. And we have to believe that that’s better than living in the past. Have you seen the past lately? It’s a mess.” -Staged Magazine

  The Terrible Girls - New York International Fringe Festival

The Terrible Girls - New York International Fringe Festival

The Terrible Girls


A grand, grotesque little play…An entertaining new theater piece by Jacqueline Goldfinger, a top-notch premiere.” -Philadelphia Inquirer

3 Women comes to mind…Sharp comic timing brings a vital levity to the cutting plot twists and nightmarish revelations. It’s an interesting examination of need for authority, whether real or imagined, that keeps us in the most precarious situations. Emotional needs beat logic to the truth in this pressure-cooker drama.” -Philadelphia CityPaper

Smoky, provocative and refreshing…As the best theater does, it forces us to reflect and leaves us in awe of what we witnessed on stage. Plus… there’s fake blood and a great soundtrack and lots of laughs.”

Suspenseful and provocative…a refreshing new story admirably written…What makes this play different than a mundane portrait of the modern South is its mythic quality. the terrible girls forces us to reflect on the duality of human nature and witness how deceit, desire, and obsession can lead to transgression.”

Captivating play by Jacqueline Goldfinger…This is an immensely entertaining and thought provoking play that will leave audiences with a great sense of satisfaction resulting from excellent performances in a superbly well-staged production. This is a play that will be appreciated on a great many levels. It is a dark comedy for sure, but, it will also reach deep within the hearts of its audience as it delves into the complex inner lives of these three wonderfully constructed characters. ” -Stage Magazine

  The Oath - Manhattan Theatre Works

The Oath - Manhattan Theatre Works

The Oath


Magnificent” & “Soulful” -Theatre Buzz (NYC)

“Outstanding drama…Wonderful, thought-provoking…Goldfinger marvelously unfolds the story with great dialogue and sympathetic characters.” -New Theater Corps, Theater Talk (NYC)

An intriguing journey through the swampy American South…The Oath sends its audience upon a mind-enriching exploration in which we leave with more questions than answers—questions that will haunt even the most resistant audience member’s mind.” -Show Business Weekly

“It’s perhaps due to [Goldfinger’s] deliberate subtlety that The Oath’s symbolism is so affecting. The story is laden with religious parallels, questions of female identity and themes of secrecy and familial duty, but the presence of a nationwide crisis that hovers over its cast of characters is what allows us to relate to them right off the bat—even before Goldfinger dismantles, in a startlingly effective manner, the initial archetypes that these characters represent.” -OffOffOnline (NYC)