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David Ives (born July 11, 1950 in Chicago) is a contemporary American playwright. A native of South Chicago, Ives attended a minor Catholic seminary and Northwestern University and, after some years' interval, Yale School of Drama, where he received an MFA in playwriting. In the interval between studies at Northwestern and Yale he worked for three years as an editor at Foreign Affairs magazine.
In the mid-1990s, after having been a contributor to Spy Magazine, Ives wrote occasional humor pieces for the New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, and other publications. In that same period, New York magazine named him one of the "100 Smartest New Yorkers".
Ives' first play in New York was Canvas, staged at the Circle Repertory Company in 1972, followed at the same theatre by Saint Freud in 1975. In the late 1980s, his one-act comedies began to appear annually in the Manhattan Punch Line's yearly one-act play festival, among them: Sure Thing, Words, Words, Words, Variations on the Death of Trotsky, Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread, and The Universal Language. Ives' most popular book of plays is All in the Timing, which originated as an evening of one-act comedies that premiered at Primary Stages in 1993, moved to the larger John Houseman Theatre, and ran for 606 performances. The production won him the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for Playwriting.
Most of his short pieces can be found in the anthologies All in the Timing and Time Flies. His full-length plays up to 2005 are collected in Polish Joke And Other Plays. The title play, Polish Joke, provides a glimpse into Ives's Polish-American background. He is also the author of the one-act play Ancient History, which documents a break-up between a Jew and a Catholic in a comic, yet poignant manner.
In 2006 he did a new translation of Georges Feydeau's classic farce, A Flea in Her Ear, which premiered in Chicago. It won a Joseph Jefferson ("Jeff") Award for adaptation. In 2008, he had two plays in New York. One adapted a Mark Twain property, Is He Dead?. The other, New Jerusalem, concerned the excommunication of Baruch Spinoza. "New Jerusalem" won a Hull-Warriner Award.
Venus in Fur opened at the Classic Stage Company in New York in 2010 with Nina Arianda and Wes Bentley. Also in 2010, he adapted Pierre Corneille's comedy The Liar for The Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. It won the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play at the Helen Hayes Awards in Washington the following year. In 2011 his version of Molière's "The Misanthrope" premiered at Classic Stage Company in New York under the title, "The School For Lies." Also in 2011 his adaptation of Jean-Francois Regnard's "Le Legataire universel" premiered at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. under the title, "The Heir Apparent."
In fall 2011, Venus in Fur had its Broadway premiere at Manhattan Theatre Club with Nina Arianda returning to the role she created at Classic Stage Company and Hugh Dancy playing the role originated by Bentley. Walter Bobbie once again directed the production. The play received positive reviews at Manhattan Theatre Club and in February 2011, transferred to the Lyceum Theatre for an extended run with Arianda and Dancy reprising their performances.
In the early 1990s Ives started working in musical theatre with the libretto for an opera based on Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden (music by Greg Pliska). It premiered in Philadelphia in 1991 at the Pennsylvania Opera Theatre.
He then became a regular adapter in New York's celebrated "Encores!" series of classic American musicals in concert, working on two or three a year for the next fifteen or more years. He continues working in the series to this day. His "Encores!" adaptation of Wonderful Town moved to Broadway's Al Hirschfeld Theatre in 2003, directed by Kathleen Marshall.
In the late 1990s, he adapted David Copperfield's magic show, Dreams and Nightmares, for Broadway, also at the Beck. He also adapted Cole Porter's Jubilee and Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific (with Reba McEntire) for concert performances at Carnegie Hall, as well as "My Fair Lady" for Avery Fisher Hall in New York. In 2002, he did brush-up work on the German transfer, Dance of the Vampires, with book, music and lyrics by Jim Steinman and original German book and lyrics by Michael Kunze. It flopped, closing in early 2003. He co-wrote the book for Irving Berlin's White Christmas, which premiered in San Francisco in 2004 and then went on to tour across the country and was seen on Broadway in the winter of 2008 and 2009.
In 2001 Ives ventured into children's literature with the novel Monsieur Eek, which he followed in 2005 with Scrib. His most current book is Voss, which was printed in 2008. Ives lives in New York City with his wife, Martha.
He is collaborating with Stephen Sondheim on a new musical.
- David Ives, 2011 Goodreads Inc
- "David Ives Offers 'Lab' for Playwrights," Columbia University Record, February 10, 1995, Vol. 20, No. 16
- Playbill News: Spinoza Clashes With Community in Premiere of Ives' New Jerusalem, Opening Jan. 13
- "Back From the Depths, Rebuilding a Career", Patrick Healy, "New York Times", Feb. 7, 2010 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/08/theater/08bentley.html
- "Run Extended for ‘Venus in Fur’", Patrick Healey, Feb. 3, 2010, NY Times 
- "One Object of Desire, Delivered", Charles Isherwood, NY Times, Jan. 28, 2010 
- Kempler,, Adam. "Rolling Along: Sondheim Discloses He’s Working on a New Show". ArtsBeat. New York Times. Retrieved 2 March 2012.