Spinning into Butter A Play

Rebecca Gilman

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

112 Pages



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Winner of the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays
Winner of the Jeff Award for new work

Set on a college campus in Vermont, Spinning into Butter is a new play by a major young American playwright that explores the dangers of both racism and political correctness in America today in a manner that is at once profound, disturbing, darkly comic, and deeply cathartic. Rebecca Gilman challenges our preconceptions about race relations, writing of a liberal dean of students named Sarah Daniels who investigates the pinning of anonymous, clearly racist letters on the door of one of the college's few African American students. The stunning discovery that there is a virulent racist on campus forces Sarah, along with other faculty members and students, to explore her feelings about racism, leading to surprising discoveries and painful insights that will rivet and provoke the reader as perhaps no play since David Mamet's Oleanna has done.

Spinning into Butter had its world premiere at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago in May 1999 and opened at the Vivian Beaumont Theater at Lincoln Center in New York in April 2000.


Praise for Spinning into Butter

"Ms. Gilman's head-on collision with this nuanced subject . . . invites an audience to recall the theater as topical and provocative."—Peter Marks, The New York Times

"Bold . . . a play so honest that labels seem beside the point . . . A work that is not at all neat, and that, by far, is its greatest virtue."—Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

"A play of blistering force . . . [Gilman] is poised to have a major impact on
the American theater."—Chris Jones, Variety

Reviews from Goodreads



Read an Excerpt

Spinning into Butter

act one
The world premiere of Spinning into Butter was presented by the Goodman Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, on May 16, 1999. The artistic director of the Goodman Theatre is Robert Falls; the executive...

Read the full excerpt


  • Rebecca Gilman

  • Rebecca Gilman, one of the finest young playwrights now at work in America, has been awarded several major prizes for her work. These include the American Theater Critics Association's Osborn Award, the Roger L. Stevens Award from the Kennedy Center Fund for New American Plays, the George Devine Award, the Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright, the Scott McPherson Award, and an Illinois Arts Council playwrighting fellowship. A native of Alabama, Gilman lives in Chicago.