What I hope to do is create a play that investigates the ongoing violence toward women and children in the world, and searches for some kind of answer to the question, 'What Can We Do?'
There are days when I think the National Endowment for the Arts should issue a quota system for the production of plays by women - especially when you realize women buy 70 percent of all theater tickets.
If someone wants to say 'I love you' in a straight play, they say it, and then it's the other person's turn to talk. But in a song, you can sing about it for another three minutes. The musical form has that unique opportunity to express at length what joy really feels like.
My view is that musicals are love stories with great final scenes. It's just that simple. Musicals are also conflicts between two worlds. And by those criteria, 'The Color Purple' is actually exactly the kind of story that makes for a great musical. Yes, it's got hard stuff in it, but so does 'Les Miserables' and 'Phantom of the Opera.'
After I won the Pulitzer, there was this sense of, 'OK, that's enough for you. Now go away.' What I wanted was to keep writing, keep working. But no one would produce anything of mine they didn't think would be as big as 'night, Mother.'
In the theater, when people hear that you're writing a play, they want to know what it's all about, whether there's a role for them. You write it fairly quickly, and it becomes a group activity before you're really ready to have company.