The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

Celebrating the visionaries who created New York's vibrant Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theater.

Robert Heide and John Gilman

Robert Heide and John Gilman

Playwright, Actors, Authors

Interviewed on: Friday, July 17, 2015
Location: Primary Stages Offices
Interviewed by: Sally Plass
Interview #49
"[On the future of Off-Broadway] They need another cultural revolution… we want people to know it’s possible."
Robert Heide and John Gilman Highlights
Video Length: 5 Minutes, 59 Seconds
Robert Heide and John Gilman Interview Part One
Video Length: 1 Hour, 21 Minutes
Robert Heide and John Gilman Part Two
Video Length: 1 Hour, 42 Minutes

Robert Heide (left) was born in Irvington, New Jersey in 1939. He grew up watching traveling circus shows that would come through town. He studied theatre at the School of Speech at Northwestern University with the legendary Alvina Krause. Intrigued by Marlon Brando, Heide moved to New York to study as an actor with Stella Adler. He subsequently met Judith Malina of The Living Theatre, who told Heide that he was a playwright, not an actor, and that he should go home and write a play. So, he did. Heide’s plays include: HECTOR (1959), WEST OF THE MOON (1960), THE BED (1965), MOON (1968), AT WAR WITH THE MONGOLS (1970), AMERICAN HAMBURGER (1976), and SUBURBAN TREMENS (1978). Heide’s plays have been performed at Caffe Cino, Old Reliable, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Club, and throughout the country. 

John Gilman (right) grew up in San Francisco. Before moving to New York, he performed in plays throughout California. Gilman met Heide through Joe Cino and would eventually act in Heide’s play MOON at Caffe Cino, as well as in multiple other productions. Gilman worked as the Production Coordinator/Company Manager/Stage Manager, etc. on all of Heide’s later productions.

Mentioned in Interview

Stella Adler, Tennessee Williams, Montgomery Clift, Robert Patrick, Paul Foster, Tom Eyen, Lanford Wilson, Michael Smith, Harold Clurman, Uta Hagan, Estelle Parsons, Oscar Isaac, Kim Stanley, Geraldine Page, Judith Malina, Edward Albee, Terrence McNally, Richard Barr, Bob Dylan, Joe Cino, Horton Foote, Ellen Stewart, Daniel Talbott, Johnny Dodd, Robert De Niro, Andy Warhol, Edie Sedgwick, Jeff Weiss, Al Carmine, Doric Wilson, The Living Theatre, Caffe Cino, Theater for the New City, La MaMa E.T.C., SUBURBAN TREMENS, AMERICAN HAMBURGER, WEST OF THE MOON, WAR OF THE MONGOLS, THE BED, HECTOR, MOON