Rebecca Gilman

Rebecca Gilman (born 1965 in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American playwright.

Rebecca Gilman
BornRebecca Claire Gilman
1965 (age 55–56)
Trussville, Alabama, U.S.
Alma materMiddlebury College
Birmingham-Southern College (BA)
University of Virginia (MA)
University of Iowa (MFA)
Notable awardsEvening Standard Award


She attended Middlebury College, graduated from Birmingham-Southern College, and earned a Master of Fine Arts from the Iowa Playwrights Workshop at the University of Iowa.


Gilman was the first American playwright to win an Evening Standard Award. She serves on the advisory board for Chicago Dramatists.[1] She has received the 2008 Harper Lee Award.[2]

Her most widely known works are Spinning Into Butter, a play that addresses political correctness and racial identity, and Boy Gets Girl, which was included in Time Magazine's List of the Best Plays and Musicals of the Decade.[3]

A production of her adaptation of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter[4] was the occasion of a protest by actors who felt only a deaf person should play a deaf person on stage.[5][6] She currently teaches at Texas Tech University's School of Theatre and Dance[7] as Head of Playwriting.

When asked about her influences, she remarked that "I'm a big fan of Wallace Shawn. He's incredibly smart and the only writer who writes about intellectuals in a complicated and even contradictory way. He's really funny, too. I also like Donald Margulies, Kenneth Lonergan, and Conor McPherson...Caryl Churchill, Kia Corthron, and a Chicago playwright, Jamie Pachino."[8]


Personal life and awardsEdit

Rebecca Gilman was born in 1965 in Trussville, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. She currently resides in Chicago. Her plays deal with contemporary societal issues.[11]

Gilman received the Scott McPherson Award for her play The Glory of Living.[12] This award is a commission given by the Goodman Theatre in memory of the late playwright Scott McPherson. The Glory of Living (2001) also earned her an M. Elizabeth Osborn Award, an After Dark Award, a Jeff Citation, the George Devine Award, and the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright .[11] The Glory of Living earned her a finalist nomination for the Pulitzer Prize.[13]

Gilman received the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays as well as a Jeff Award for Spinning into Butter.[13] According to Chris Jones, this play made her "One of America's most talked-about and sought-after playwrights."[14]

She has also been awarded Illinois Arts Council playwriting fellowship.[13]

Rebecca Gilman was an associate professor of playwriting and screenwriting at Northwestern University from 2006 to 2019[15] and is now a professor and head of playwriting at Texas Tech University.[16] She is an artistic associate at the Goodman Theatre and also serves on the board of the Dramatists Guild of America.[17]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ "Programs"
  3. ^ "Time Magazine's List of Best Plays and Musicals of the Decade #5". Archived from the original on January 2, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-11.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  4. ^ [2]
  5. ^ "Discussion of the issues raised by the protest about 'The Heart is a Lonely Hunter' production and script Archived 2009-10-24 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Healy, Patrick (October 14, 2009). "Hearing Man in Deaf Role Stirs Protests in New York". The New York Times.
  7. ^ "Rebecca Gilman, M.F.A."
  8. ^ "Twenty Questions". American Theatre. Theatre Communications Group. 19 (2): 88. 2002. ISSN 8750-3255.
  9. ^
  10. ^ See the Goodman Theatre website for more information.
  11. ^ a b Stacks, Geoffrey. "Simon wasn't there: the Sambo strategy, consumable theater, and Rebecca Gilman's Spinning into Butter." African American Review, 40.2 (2006): 285-298.
  12. ^ "A Beginner's Guide to Rebecca Gilman". AMERICAN THEATRE. 2000-04-01. Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  13. ^ a b c See Gilman, Rebecca. Spinning into Butter. 2nd edn. New York: Faber and Faber, Inc., 2000.
  14. ^ Jones, Chris. "Spotlighting Racism Brings Anxiety as Well as Success." The New York Times, July 23, 2000, II.5 sec.
  15. ^ "Rebecca Gilman | Northwestern University School of Communication". Retrieved 2017-10-27.
  16. ^ [3] Texas Tech University School of Theatre and Dance
  17. ^ [4]

External linksEdit