Theresa Rebeck
Born (1958-02-19) February 19, 1958 (age 65)
EducationUniversity of Notre Dame (BA)
Brandeis University (MA, MFA, PhD)
  • Playwright
  • writer
  • novelist
SpouseJess Lynn

Theresa Rebeck (born February 19, 1958)[citation needed] is an American playwright, television writer, and novelist. Her work has appeared on the Broadway and Off-Broadway stage, in film, and on television. Among her awards are the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award. In 2012, she received the Athena Film Festival Award for Excellence as a Playwright and Author of Films, Books, and Television.[1] She is a 2009 recipient of the Alex Awards. Her works have influenced American playwrights by bringing a feminist edge in her old works.

Early life and education

Rebeck was born in Kenwood, Ohio, and graduated from Cincinnati's Ursuline Academy in 1976.[2][3] She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame in 1980,[4] and followed that with three degrees from Brandeis University: an MA in English 1983, a MFA in Playwriting in 1986, and a PhD in Victorian era melodrama, awarded in 1989.[5]


Past New York productions of her work include Mauritius on Broadway at the Biltmore Theatre in a Manhattan Theater Club production; The Scene, The Water's Edge, Loose Knit, The Family of Mann and Spike Heels at Second Stage Theatre; Bad Dates and The Butterfly Collection at Playwrights Horizons; and View of the Dome at New York Theatre Workshop. Omnium Gatherum (co-written, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2003) was featured at the Humana Festival, and had a commercial run at the Variety Arts Theatre in 2003.[6] Her play The Understudy, premiered at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the summer of 2008, with a cast including Reg Rogers, Bradley Cooper and Kristen Johnson, and ran in New York at the Roundabout Theatre from October 2009 – January 2010, featuring Julie White, Justin Kirk, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar in the cast.[7] The off-Broadway and regional theatre hit comedy premiered in 2015 at Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland.[8] Rebeck was attached as a book writer for the new musical Ever After, based on the Drew Barrymore movie of the same name.[9] That show was expected to start pre-Broadway tryouts in San Francisco in April 2009, but was postponed. Her play, Mauritius, ran at the Pasadena Playhouse in California from March 27 through April 26, 2009.[10]

Her play Seminar played on Broadway starting in October 2011, and starred Alan Rickman.[11] In May 2014 Seminar premiered in San Francisco at San Francisco Playhouse receiving outstanding reviews.[12] Her play Fool premiered at the Alley Theatre, Houston, Texas, in February 2014.[13] The theme of the play Seminar was women empowerment through sexuality and the struggles of what it is to be a female in an industry dominated by men.

Her play Poor Behavior opened Off-Broadway at Primary Stages in August 2014. The play premiered at the Mark Taper Forum in 2011.[14]

In an article in The New York Times in September 2007, she said that her plays were about "betrayal and treason and poor behavior. A lot of poor behavior."[15] Rebeck's other publications include Free Fire Zone, a book of comedic essays about writing and show business. She has written for American Theatre magazine and has had excerpts of her plays published in the Harvard Review. Rebeck's first novel, Three Girls and Their Brother, was published in 2008 by Random House/Shaye Areheart Books.

She has received awards including the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar Award, the Writers Guild of America Award for Episodic Drama, the Hispanic Images Imagen Award, and the Peabody Award, all for her work on NYPD Blue. She has won the National Theatre Conference Award (for The Family of Mann), and was awarded the William Inge New Voices Playwriting Award in 2003 for The Bells. Mauritius was originally produced at Boston's Huntington Theatre, where it received the 2007 IRNE Award for Best New Play as well as the Elliot Norton Award. In 2010, Rebeck was honored with the PEN/Laura Pels International Foundation for Theater Award for an American playwright in mid-career.

In television, Rebeck has written for Dream On, Brooklyn Bridge, L.A. Law, American Dreamer, Maximum Bob, First Wave, and Third Watch. She has been a writer/producer for Canterbury's Law, Smith, Law & Order: Criminal Intent and NYPD Blue. Through March 2012 she was one of the executive producers for the NBC musical series Smash, which she created, and which also debuted on February 6, 2012. Her produced feature film screenplays include Harriet the Spy, Gossip, and the independent feature Sunday on the Rocks.


Rebeck is Distinguished Professor of Playwriting and holds the Lyndall Finley Wortham Chair in the Performing Arts at the University of Houston.

Rebeck is a board member of The Dramatists Guild and the Lark Play Development Center in New York City, and has taught at Brandeis University and Columbia University. In 2014 she will join the faculty of the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance as a distinguished visiting professor of playwriting.[16]

Personal life

Rebeck is married, residing with her husband, Jess Lynn, and two children, Cooper and Cleo in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Three Girls and their Brother is dedicated to both Cooper and Cleo.[15]




  1. ^ The Athena Film Festival:
  2. ^ Kiesewetter, John. title = Kenwood native delves into criminal mind on Law & Order. Cincinnati Enquirer. November 18, 2001.
  3. ^ "The Women of the Years". Ursuline Academy. Theresa Rebeck '76
  4. ^ FTT Talks presents Theresa RebeckAuthor, playwright, and screenwriter“Writing for the Stage, Screen and Page Archived July 8, 2012, at University of Notre Dame Film, television, and Theatre Department. September 18, 2008. "ND '80".
  5. ^ "Class Notes: 1980s". Brandeis Magazine. Brandeis University. Summer 2011. Theresa Rebeck, M.A.'83, M.F.A.'86, Ph.D.'89
  6. ^ Brantley, Ben."Theater Review; A Feisty Feast Of Wicked Wit". The New York Times. September 26, 2003.
  7. ^ Laura Pels Theatre. Roundabout Theatre Company.
  8. ^ Artists Repertory Theatre.
  9. ^ "Kathleen Marshall Will Direct Broadway Debut of 'Ever After' Based On 1998 Cinderella Film" Archived January 4, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ McNulty, Charles. "Review: 'Mauritius' at Pasadena Playhouse". Los Angeles Times. April 5, 2009.
  11. ^ Jones, Kenneth. Broadway's Seminar, Starring Alan Rickman, Available in Presale Sept. 6–16; General Sale Starts Sept. 17" Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine., September 6, 2011.
  12. ^ "San Francisco Playhouse". Retrieved June 22, 2020.
  13. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Theresa Rebeck's 'Fool' Opens at the Alley Theatre Feb. 26" Archived March 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, February 26, 2014
  14. ^ Hetrick, Adam."Ethics and Infidelity: Theresa Rebeck Comedy Poor Behavior Opens Off-Broadway Tonight" Archived August 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, August 17, 2014
  15. ^ a b Simonson, Robert. "An Acute Interest in Bad Behavior". The New York Times. September 23, 2007.
  16. ^ Acclaimed Playwright Theresa Rebeck Joining UH School of Theatre & Dance by Mike Emery. University of Houston News & Events, June 2, 2014. Retrieved June 9, 2014.
  17. ^ "World Première - Mad House - Stars announced!". London Box Office. n.d. Retrieved March 17, 2022.
  18. ^ Bernhardt/Hamlet
  19. ^ "Seared | World Premiere at San Francisco Playhouse", August 19, 2016
  20. ^ [1] Denver, January 7, 2016
  21. ^ Hetrick, Adam."Katie Holmes to Return to Broadway in Theresa Rebeck's 'Dead Accounts' This Fall" Archived December 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, July 19, 2012
  22. ^ Healy, Patrick. Staging the Politics of Abortion. The New York Times. April 13, 2011.
  23. ^ "Review: The Understudy". Time Out Boston. n.d. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  24. ^ [2] Archived March 21, 2008, at the Wayback Machine