Color Purple Librettist Marsha Norman Gets Emotional

Tony Awards   Color Purple Librettist Marsha Norman Gets Emotional Marsha Norman is probably best known as the author of many plays, including 'night, Mother , which won her a Tony Award nomination in 1983. Ironically, though, she has had her biggest successes with the few musicals she has worked on.

Norman won a Tony Award for her book to the 1991 musical The Secret Garden and this year she was again nominated for Best Book of a Musical for The Color Purple. The writer said she was not concentrating on plays right now, and that situation suits her fine. She enjoys the unique artistic opportunities musicals offer. "Musicals allow you to say things that you can't say in dialogue," she told Playbill.com. "They allow you to express that inner life that you can not go on and on and on about in a big, long speech" in a play.

Moreover, musicals make use of different writing muscles, she contended. "In musicals, you have to figure out more carefully what the big emotional moments are and how to lead into them. You give them to the singers rather than the actors.

"Also, there's this great pleasure that audiences feel in musicals," she continued, "and that's something you can actually create, as opposed to a play, where that is not your intent. You don't go into a play thinking, `I'm trying to make the audience have a wonderful time.' In musicals, there's very much the sense of `Oh, they are going to love this.'" The Color Purple received 11 Tony nominations. It is currently playing at the Broadway Theatre.