Rebecca Gilman Analysis

Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Rebecca Gilman, who considers herself exclusively a playwright, has written only works for the stage, though she has considered writing for the screen.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Since the opening of The Glory of Living at the Circle Theater outside of Chicago in 1996, Rebecca Gilman has enjoyed immense popularity among American dramatists. Her work was immediately recognized as important by critics and audiences and has been produced at various theaters in the United States. The Glory of Living received several awards for playwriting, including the American Theatre Critics Association’s M. Elizabeth Osborn Award and London’s Evening Standard Theatre Award for most promising playwright—an award Gilman was the first American playwright to win. Spinning into Butter appeared on Broadway and was directed by Tony-winning director Daniel Sullivan. It also received the Robert L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays. Her work has also been featured at the Actors Theatre of Louisville’s annual Humana festival. She has received several commissions for new work from the Goodman Theatre in Chicago as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship for writing.

Gilman has been positively received around the country for her ability to address unafraid the darker side of human nature. She has tackled such hard-to-stage issues as child abuse, racism, violence, and obsession and done so in a brutal fashion that often defies the politically correct environment of modern theater. Gilman has a strong following, along with the support of the Goodman Theatre.


(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

Boehm, Mike. “Willing to Say What Others Won’t.” Los Angeles Times, September 2, 2001, p. F40. Boehm examines audience reactions to Spinning into Butter and Gilman’s sudden popularity. He interviews Gilman as well as Goodman Theater executive director Roche Schulfer, who compares Gilman to David Mamet.

Jones, Chris. “The Beginner’s Guide to Rebecca Gilman.” American Theatre 17, no. 4 (April, 2000): 26-29. Jones presents a short biography of Gilman before delving into an analysis of her work. He emphasizes Gilman’s obsession with crime, as well as her ability to connect individual deviants with social forces.

Smith, Sid. “The Solution Is the Hard Part: Playwright Puts a Provocative Spin on America’s Hidden Racism.” Chicago Tribune, May 28, 1999, p. C1. Smith interviews Gilman about the success of Spinning into Butter. Gilman talks about racism and the role of her play in its dialogue.