Uncommon Playwrights

Marsha Norman

Marsha Norman Biography

Marsha Norman Bio is the winner of the 1983 Pulitzer Prize, Blackburn Prize, Hull-Warriner, and Drama Desk Awards for her play ‘Night, mother. In l992 she won a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award for her book for the Broadway musical, The Secret Garden. She also wrote the book for the Broadway musical, The Color Purple, for which she also received a Tony nomination. The Color Purple is currently in the third year of its national first-class tour. Her new play, The Master Butcher’s Singing Club, premiered at the Guthrie Theatre in the fall of 2010. She is currently writing a musical based on The Bridges of Madison County, with Jason Robert Brown, and another musical, Bandits,with Sheryl Crow. She is also currently working on a commission from the United Nations, a play dealing with Trafficking and Violence Toward Women.

Her other plays include:

  • Getting Out, for which she won the John Gassner Medallion and the American Theater Critics Association Citation
  • Third and Oak: The Laundromat
  • The Pool Hall
  • The Holdup
  • Traveler in the Dark
  • Sarah and Abraham
  • Loving Daniel Boone
  • Trudy Blue
  • Last Dance

Her television and film credits include:

  • 'Night, mother, starring Sissy Spacek and Anne Bancroft
  • The Laundromat, starring Carol Burnett and Amy Madigan
  • The Pool Hall, starring James Earl Jones
  • Face of a Stranger starring Gena Rowlands and Tyne Daley
  • Cooler Climate, starring Sally Field and Judy Davis, and Audrey Hepburn
  • Custody of the Heart
  • Samantha, an American Girl

She spent one year as Co-Executive Producer of Law and order: Criminal Intent, and in 2009, wrote the Gina episodes of Season 2 of HBO’s In Treatment, for which she won a Peabody award. She is currently writing an HBO movie based on The no. 1 Ladies Detective Agency.

Her other published work includes Four plays, Collected Works of Marsha Norman, vol 1, and a novel, The Fortune Teller. She has Grammy and Emmy nominations, as well as grants and awards from among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. She has won the Margo Jones Award, and the Sidney Kingsley Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Guild Hall Academy of Arts and Letters. In the spring of 2011, she received the William Inge Lifetime Achievement Award in Playwriting.

For 18 years, Ms. Norman has been Co-Chair, with Christopher Durang, of the Playwriting Department of The Juilliard School. She also taught the Master’s Thesis in Playwriting Class at NYU from 2004-2010. She writes and lectures frequently on the theatre and has 18 honorary degrees from American colleges and Universities.

She was elected to membership in the Fellowship of Southern Writers and serves on the Governing Board of the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and the Advisory Board of Samuel French. She is a former Vice-President of the Dramatists Guild of America. She attended Agnes Scott College, holds a B.A. in Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Louisville. She is a native of Kentucky and currently lives in New York.