Rebecca Gilman (born 1965 in Birmingham, Alabama) is an American playwright.
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. She has received the 2008 Harper Lee Award.
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.
A production of her adaptation of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter was the occasion of a protest by actors who felt only a deaf person should play a deaf person on stage. She is a professor in Northwestern University's Department of Radio-TV-Film and core faculty in Northwestern's MFA in Writing for the Screen+Stage program.
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."
- The American in Me
- Dollhouse, adapted from Henrik Ibsen's play
- My Sin and Nothing More
- The Crime of the Century
- The Crowd You're In With
- The Land of Little Horses
- The Sweetest Swing in Baseball
- Spinning Into Butter (2000), which won the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays and a Jeff Award
- Boy Gets Girl (2000)
- The Glory of Living (2001), a finalist for the 2002 Pulitzer Prize and won 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
- Blue Surge (2001)
- The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter (2005), adapted from the novel by Carson McCullers
- The Boys are Coming Home (book by Gilman, music and lyrics by Leslie Arden)
- Lord Butterscotch and the Curse of the Darkwater Phantom (co-written with Lisa Dillman and Brett Neveu; world premiere, Fall 2007)
- Luna Gale (2014)
- See the Goodman Theatre website for more information.
Personal life and awards
She lives in Chicago.
She 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. According to Chris Jones, this play made her "One of America's most talked-about and sought-after playwrights."
She has won several awards for her play The Glory of Living (2001), including the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright. It was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Gilman won the Scott McPherson Award and an Illinois Arts Council playwriting fellowship. She likes to discuss issues in her plays. The Glory of Living is about a mother brutally killing runaways and hitchhikers in an attempt to please her husband. Boy Gets Girl (2000) looks at the power and violence in gender relations. Blue Surge (2001) looks at class, as Spinning into Butter looks at race.
She serves on the board of the Dramatists Guild of America.