She was born in Kenwood, Ohio, and graduated from Cincinnati's Ursuline Academy in 1976. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Notre Dame in 1980, and followed that with three degrees from Brandeis University: an MA in 1983, a M.F.A. in Playwrighting in 1986, and a Ph.D. in Victorian era melodrama, awarded in 1989.
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. 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. Ms. Rebeck is also writing the book for the new musical Ever After, based on the Drew Barrymore movie of the same name. The show is expected on Broadway in the spring of 2009.
In television, Ms. 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 and Order: Criminal Intent and NYPD Blue. Her produced feature film screenplays include Harriet the Spy, Gossip, and the independent feature Sunday on the Rocks.
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. Ms. 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 Eliot Norton Award.
Ms. Rebeck is a board member of The Dramatists Guild, and has taught at Brandeis University and Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband Jess Lynn and two children, Cooper and Cleo.
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."
Her play, "Mauritius," ran at the Pasadena Playhouse in California from March 27 through April 26, 2009.
Her other work as a playwright includes:
Her work as a screenwriter (or story writer) includes: