David Ives (born July 11, 1950 in Chicago) is a contemporary American playwright. His plays have appeared both Off-Broadway and on Broadway. He has written for the New York City Center Encores! staged concert series for many years.
A native of South Chicago, Ives attended Northwestern University, majoring in English. After graduation he wrote plays and worked at a bookstore in Hollywood. He then worked for three years as a junior editor at Foreign Affairs magazine in New York City. He attended the Yale School of Drama in 1981, where he received an MFA in playwriting.
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 1987 his short play Words, Words, Words was presented at the Manhattan Punch Line Theatre, followed by Sure Thing, Variations on the Death of Trotsky, Philip Glass Buys a Loaf of Bread (1990), and The Universal Language. A two-act play, Ancient History was produced Off-Broadway in 1989 by Primary Stages.
Ives' All in the Timing originated as a presentation of six of his one-act plays that premiered at Primary Stages in 1993, moved to the larger John Houseman Theatre, and ran for 606 performances. He won the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for Playwriting. A New York Times writer described Ives' work: "In the world of the playwright David Ives, situations float at the far edge of the social map and quickly drift off into uncharted territory." Primary Stages presented a revival of All in the Timing in January 2013 to April 2013, writing "When this evening of six one-act comedies premiered in 1993, Vincent Canby of The New York Times said 'Ives is wizardly...magical and funny...a master of language.' Canby also told audiences 'Drop-everything-and-go!'--and audiences did, for more than 600 performances. This new production, directed by John Rando, includes plays like Sure Thing and The Universal Language which have become contemporary classics.