Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A to Z Challenge - N is for Norman

Today I thought I would feature another female playwright who has amassed considerable critical acclaim.

Marsha Norman was born in Kentucky in 1947, and she got her start writing for the Actor's Theatre of Louisville. It was there that her first play, Getting Out, was produced. At the time, Norman had been working with disturbed adolescents at the Central State Hospital in Kentucky, and she drew on that experience to write a play about a woman who has been in prison and how she deals with life afterward.

 I found that bit of information interesting, as I drew on my background as a hospital chaplain when I wrote my first play, There Is A Time. Sometimes experiences or certain people just beg to be dramatized.

After her success with her first play, Norman moved to New York, but she continued to write for the Louisville theatre. She produced a full-length play, Circus Valentine in 1979. Another play, 'night, Mother, became her biggest success on Broadway and in film. This play dealt with the topic of suicide and won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as other notable awards including the Drama Desk Award.

Her next dramatic play was not as well received. In fact, Traveller in the Dark received such negative  reviews from the New York critics, Norman stopped writing serious drama and wrote for musical theatre. She wrote the book and lyrics for the musical version of The Secret Garden, for which she won a Tony Award for Best Book in 1991. Other notable contributions to musical theatre included writing the book and lyrics for the musical The Red Shoes, as well as the libretto for the musical version of The Color Purple which opened in 2005.

When my first play was produced here in our community theatre, I was blown away by the experience of seeing my story come to life. I'm sure Marsha Norman must have felt the same way when her first production was mounted, and maybe she still does feel a special thrill on opening night even after all her success.

On another note, today I am a guest on Terry Odell's terrific blog, Terry's Place, where I share one of my most embarrassing moments while doing research, as well as what I would feed Abraham Lincoln if we could have dinner together. Hop on over if you have a moment, and check out Terry's books while you are there. She is a terrific writer.

Also, I want to remind everyone about the free teleclass coming up this week. What is your creative "tango tenacity" that can help you address your time challenges? During the teleclass you will receive tips and advice that will help you gain a new perspective on using time. "Time Tango 2013" will be held on April 18 by Marney Makridakis, bestselling author of the book, Creating Time SIGN UP HERE 
 

1 comment:

C. Lee McKenzie said...

I so admire playwrights. How exciting it must be to see your characters and your story unfold on a stage.