Robert was born in Chapel Hill, N. Carolina but grew up in Austin, Texas. As a Plan II Honors student he received a B.A. in Drama from the University of Texas (Phi Beta Kappa, Magna Cum Laude, Friars' Society, Distinguished Young Alumnus, Lifetime Texas-Ex’s Member and Littlefield Society) and an M.F.A. in Theatre Arts from Cornell University.
Robert is the author of The Kentucky Cycle, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama – the first play in the history of the Pulitzer to win before its NY premier. He has written and published fourteen other full-length plays. They include: By the Waters of Babylon, Lewis and Clark Reach the Euphrates, The Marriage of Miss Hollywood and King Neptune, Handler, Heaven on Earth, Tachinoki, and Final Passages. All The Way, had its world premiere in 2012 at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, then was produced at A.R.T. in Boston starring Bryan Cranston, and moved to Broaday in January, 2013. It broke two box office records and won the the Drama League Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award, the Drama Desk Award, the Edward M. Kennedy Prize for History and Theater Award, and the Tony Award for Best Play and for Best Actor. His most recent play, The Great Society, (commissioned by the Seattle Repertory Theatre) is a sequel to All The Way, and had its world premier at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in July, 2013. Both plays ran in repertory at the Seattle Repertory Theater in January 2014.
Full-length Children’s Plays include:
The Dream Thief, The Devil and Daniel Webster, and A Single Shard. His newest play, Shadowplay, commissioned by the Seattle Children's Theater, has been selected as one of six plays for the 25th Anniversary Season of New Voices/New Visions at the J. F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
His Musicals include: The Twelve (book and lyrics) with Neil Berg (music and lyrics) which had its premier at the Denver Theater Center in 2015, and A Night at the Alhambra Café (book and lyrics).
His One Act plays are published in a collection: Conversations with the Spanish Lady and other plays.
In addition to the Pulitzer, other theatre awards include: the 2013 Senator Edward M. Kennedy Theater Award, Tony nomination, Outer Critics Circle nomination, LA Critics Best Play Award, the Julie Harris/Beverly Hills Theatre Guild Award, the PEN WEST Award, and the Best of the Fringe (Edinburgh Festival). He has received grants from New York CAPS, Vogelstein Foundation, Arthur Foundation, and the Fund for New American Plays.
Robert is the co-author of the film, The Quiet American. His script for Hacksaw Ridge, (Pandemonium Films) is currently in production in Australia, directed by Mel Gibson. He is now writing a new feature for Robert Redford based on the book, 109 East Palace Rd, and revising his original screenplay, Fall Of Saigon, for Barry Josephson.
His television credits include: four episodes of The Pacific –Emmy award winner for Best miniseries. Robert’s work was nominated for two Emmys and he won a WGA Award for the same. Other TV work includes The Andromeda Strain (A&E – nominated for six Emmys, including “Best Miniseries”), Crazy Horse (TNT), and Spartacus (USA). Most recently he adapted his own Tony Award Winning Play, All The Way, for HBO and was Co-Executive Producer along with Steven Spielberg and Bryan Cranston. Production under the direction of Jay Roach wrapped in October, 2015 and the show will air on HBO in May, 2016.
Robert has been in residence at The MacDowell Colony, The Orchard Project, Sundance, The O’Neil Center, Seven Devils, The Gathering at Big Fork, and New Harmony. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild (National Council Member), WGA, SAG, AEA, PEN America, the Ensemble Studio Theatre, the National Theater Conference, a Fellow of the American Theater, and is an alumnus of New Dramatists.