21 September 1947 |
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
|Spouse||Tim Dykman (1987-present)
Dann C. Byck, Jr. (1978-1986)
Michael Norman (1969-1974)
|Notable work(s)||The Color Purple (musical)|
|Magnum opus||'night, Mother
The Secret Garden
|Awards||Pulitzer Prize for Drama (1983)|
Marsha Norman (born September 21, 1947) is an American playwright, screenwriter, and novelist. She received the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for her play 'night, Mother. She wrote the book and lyrics for such Broadway musicals as The Secret Garden, for which she won a Tony Award and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Book of a Musical, and The Red Shoes, as well as the libretto for the musical The Color Purple. She currently works as an instructor in the MFA program at Stony Brook Southampton.
Early years 
Norman was born in Louisville, Kentucky. As a child, she read, played the piano and had an imaginary friend named Bettering. She later began attending productions by the newly-founded Actor's Theatre of Louisville. After graduating from Agnes Scott College with a degree in philosophy, she began working as a journalist for The Louisville Times newspaper, and writing for Kentucky Educational Television. She also taught young children and adolescents in mental institutions and hospitals. These were perhaps her biggest influence on her writing, especially a 13-year-old girl who influenced her play Getting Out. She also taught English at the J. Graham Brown School and Prestonia Elementary School in Louisville.
Norman wrote her first play Getting Out which was produced at the Actors Theatre of Louisville. The play deals with a young woman just paroled after an eight-year prison sentence for robbery, kidnapping and manslaughter. It reflects Norman's experience working with disturbed adolescents at Kentucky's Central State Hospital.
Norman's success with Getting Out led her to move to New York City where she continued to write for the Actor's Theatre of Louisville. She produced a full-length play, Circus Valentine in 1979. Her next play, 'night, Mother, would turn out to be her best-known work given its Broadway success and its star-powered film version. 'night, Mother brought Norman a great deal of recognition. The play, dealing frankly with the subject of suicide, won the 1983 Pulitzer Prize for Drama as well as the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the Hull-Warriner, and the Drama Desk Award. However, her follow-up play, Traveller in the Dark received scathing reviews from the New York critics, some of whom were as blunt to say she could not have written it. On account of such a hostile reception, Norman put off "serious" drama and applied her talents to musical theatre.
Norman wrote the book and lyrics for the musical version of the Frances Hodgson Burnett novel The Secret Garden, and won the Tony Award for Best Book in 1991. Her work in musical theatre continued with her writing the book and lyrics for the musical The Red Shoes. She also wrote the libretto for the musical version of The Color Purple which opened in 2005.
Norman currently serves on the faculty of the Juilliard School in New York City, and is Vice-President of the Dramatists Guild of America. She has written occasional screenplays for episodes of the HBO series In Treatment. She was honored at the 2011 William Inge Festival for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theatre.
- Getting Out (1977)
- Circus Valentine (1979)
- 'night, Mother (1983)
- Traveller in the Dark (1984)
- The Fortune Teller (1987)
- Third and Oak
- The Laundromat
- The Poolhall
- The Holdup
- Sarah and Abraham
- Loving Daniel Boone
- Lunch With Ginger (One Act Play)
- Trudy Blue (Play written around "Lunch With Ginger")
- The Secret Garden (1991)
- The Red Shoes (1993)
- The Color Purple (2005)
- The Master Butchers Singing Club (2010)
- "Artists Offstage: Marsha Norman". American Repertory Theatre. 4 November 1998. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
- Kerr, Euan."Guthrie will premier Erdrich's "Master Butcher's Singing Club" mpr.org, April 7, 2010
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Marsha Norman|
- Marsha Norman at the Internet Broadway Database
- Marsha Norman at the Internet Movie Database
- Marsha Norman at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Marsha Norman Downstage Center XM radio interview at American Theatre Wing.org, October 2006
- The Playwright - Working in the Theatre seminar video at American Theatre Wing.org, February 2006
- The Playwright - Working in the Theatre seminar video at American Theatre Wing.org, September 1985