David Kaufman

David Kaufman is a theater critic in New York City.

Latest by David Kaufman in Chronicles

Results: 18 Articles found.
  • May 1989

    Catching the Wry

    According to Leon Edel, the art of biography is a "noble" endeavor. But in our celebrity-crazed era, when prurient interests have supplanted respect for artistic accomplishment, the most popular biographies are those emphasizing lurid details.

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  • August 1988

    The Great Connivance

    Nearly 60 years have elapsed since James Agate, the London theater critic, quipped, "The English ceased to be playgoers as soon as there was anything else to go to." On Broadway, the American solution has been to guarantee ticket sales by casting celebrities.

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  • June 1988

    The Great Deception

    It's only too easy to be cynical about Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera, and particularly about the excess and emptiness it stands for.

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  • March 1988

    A Distant Passion

    Lanford Wilson is consistently given the respect reserved for "great" American playwrights, but the distinction is a dubious honor at best. Each Wilson piece is overly scrutinized and judged ultimately as being a notch below what it might have been.

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  • January 1988

    The Search for Salvation

    There is a popularly held belief that the promise of theater resided throughout the country. According to the theory, if Broadway was dying, then American theater was thriving west of the Hudson and south of the Delaware Water Gap, nurturing not only the talent but also the audience.

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  • November 1987

    Resolutely Abstract

    The avant-garde, according to those who are supposed to know, has been entering the mainstream, but the commentators busy cataloging this development for future art historians seem to have forgotten that "avant-garde" and "mainstream" are mutually exclusive terms.

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  • September 1987

    A Poetics of the Mundane

    A year or two before Ann Beattie's breakthrough second novel, Falling in Place, a cartoon appeared in The New Yorker showing a crowd of people, dressed in evening gowns and suits, drinks in hand, milling around what looked like an outdoor cocktail party with nearly all of humanity in attendance.

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  • August 1987

    Viva la Musical Comedy

    A few months before I saw the musical Les Miserables—actually a few months before it opened at the Kennedy Center last December—I heard it. The show's publicist had sent me a tape of the London version.

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  • June 1987

    A Female Aesthetic

    While Kathleen Betsko and Rachel Koenig are desperate to find, if not manufacture, a "female aesthetic," it fails to emerge from their Interviews With Contemporary Women Playwrights; in fact, most of the 30 represented playwrights deny either its existence or its relevance.

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  • May 1987

    Those Enigmatic Steppes

    As one sign of Chekhov's greatness, his very name is invoked (in adjective form) to assess the work of others.

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  • April 1987

    Nil and Void: Beckett's Last Gasp

    During the ongoing, international celebration of Samuel Beckett's 80th birthday, which commenced last spring, much is being said, written, and done to reiterate unequivocally his position as the preeminent playwright of our century.

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  • March 1987

    Time Will Tell

    As if he still had somewhere to get to, Neil Simon finally arrived in 1986: 25 years after his first play, Come Blow Your Horn, opened on Broadway 1 or 18 plays and four musicals later.

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  • January 1987

    Monologue as Echo Chamber

    Tucked away in one of 2.3 Diary entries, Ned Rorem suggests that "inside every artist is a banker struggling to get out." Though Rorem was merely penning another one of his inversions-for-inversion's-sake, the particular aphorism he derived here seems curiously relevant to Spalding Gray.

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  • October 1986

    The House That John Built

    In the 1980 film Atlantic City, Burt Lancaster, portraying a has-been racketeer, turns to a young companion while they're walking along the Board walk and exclaims, "You should have seen the Atlantic Ocean in the old days."

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  • July 1986

    A (Re)Movable Feast

    If contemporary drama is as ailing and derivative as many are finding it, no one has yet observed the extent to which our theater has been up against a new form of competition and a new influence.

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  • May 1986

    Beware the Limelight

    Despite the bad press it receives both nationally and locally. New York theater is not as comatose or as bankrupt as many now suppose. What has been its greatest asset historically, its spectacular abundance, remains its chief characteristic today.

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  • April 1986

    What Became a Legend Most?

    As if it were a conspiracy to compensate for what they deemed a distortion of the facts, the critics seized Zoe Caldwell's one-woman show Lillian, written by William Luce, as an occasion to say more about Lillian Hellman than to discuss the biodrama they were offered.

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  • March 1986

    In Search of a Playwright

    When it comes to American Drama, our lack of a respectable literature is a much more perennial and chronic lament than we imagine. With what would appear to be a perverse relish, each generation proclaims that today is worse than yesterday, perpetuating the strain of pessimism and unjustified nostalgia that pervades the record.

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Results: 18 Articles found.