VIOLET - Synopsis

Broadway 2014
Violet the Musical  - SYNOPSIS

With a ticket, a suitcase, and a heart full of expectation, Violet Karl waits for a Greyhound bus in Spruce Pine, North Carolina . It is September 4, 1964. For a moment she sees herself as a young girl (Young Vi), carefree and singing a folk song (“Water in the Well”), before her face was horribly disfigured in an accident. A local’s nosy question breaks Violet’s reverie, prompting her to look forward to the healing she expects to receive from a televangelist in Tulsa that will help her transcend her provincial little town (“Surprised”). As the bus departs the station, the passengers muse as to where this journey might lead them (“On My Way”).

The passengers pile off the bus to get some food at a rest stop in Kingsport, Tennessee (“M&M’s”). In the grill Violet meets two poker-playing soldiers, Flick and Monty. Flick is a black sergeant in his early thirties, Monty a younger white corporal, a paratrooper. Both are bound for Fort Smith, Arkansas. Violet asks to join their game, and as they deal her in, she privately recalls how her father taught her to play (“Luck of the Draw”).

Back on the bus, Monty teases Violet about a preacher he obviously has no faith in (“Question ’n’ Answer”). He takes a book she carries and plays keep-away with it, which triggers Violet’s memory of the day she found the catechism in her father’s bedside table. Later, in the Nashville station, Flick wants to know exactly what it is that Violet wants to change. With the help of movie magazines she shows the soldiers the physical features she’d like best (“All to Pieces”), but they offend her when their attention wanders. She sits apart from them as the journey continues, recalling once again her younger self singing the folk song, which turns out to have been the moment just before the accident (“Water in the Well [Reprise]”). Violet daydreams an encounter between herself as Young Vi and the Preacher (“A Healing Touch”). As they are approaching Memphis, Flick seeks Violet out to apologize for offending her earlier. He suggests she can take care of herself without the help of the Preacher (“Let It Sing”). Stopping in Memphis overnight, the trio pass a hooker on the way to a boarding house, where Almeta the landlady resists housing a white woman until Flick slips her some money (“Anyone Would Do”). While a song plays on the radio (“Who’ll Be the One [If Not Me]”), Violet dozes, seeing herself as Young Vi trying to dance with her father, then practicing dancing with the old lady from the bus. Monty appears and dances with both women in turn. Monty really has entered Violet’s room. He finds her book and starts to read things Violet has written in it. She awakes and confronts him, prompting Monty to explain himself (“You're Different” or "Last Time I Came to Memphis" in the 2014 revival).

Flick enters the room with some drinks to start the night off (“Go to It”). The threesome venture out to a Beale Street music hall, where the sight of Flick dancing with Violet attracts some unfriendly attention (“Lonely Stranger”). When Monty moves in and makes a pass at Violet, Flick leaves the hall. Violet follows him back to the boarding house; the landlady interrupts a tender moment between them. In the middle of the night, Monty stumbles in through Violet’s unlocked door. He wakes her, makes love to her, then falls asleep in her lap (“Lay Down Your Head”).

The music hall singer, the landlady and the hooker cap the evening with a trio about unfulfilled desire (“Anyone Would Do [Reprise]”). Violet travels with the men to Fort Smith the next morning, on her way to Tulsa . Flick and Violet pledge to write each other, but Flick gets upset about the events of the night before (“Hard to Say Goodbye”). Violet escapes to the bus bathroom, where she rehearses what she will say to spurn Monty, afraid he’ll otherwise reject her first. In the front of the bus Monty rehearses his own spiel, at Flick’s direction. But when it comes time to part, Monty instead asks Violet to meet him on her return stop at Fort Smith (“Promise Me, Violet”). She promises nothing, cleaving to her plan, and the bus pulls away .

In Tulsa, Violet surprises the Preacher in rehearsal with his choir (“Raise Me Up”). He pawns her off on Virgil, a young assistant, and in her frustration she recovers the memory of being carried in her father’s arms after the accident (“Down the Mountain”). Soon she slips away from Virgil and returns to the televangelist’s empty chapel. Violet takes out her catechism and empties slips of paper she has covered with Bible quotes onto the altar (“In the Chapel”). When the Preacher discovers her, she pleads with him to help invoke her miracle (“Raise Me Up [Reprise]”). When nothing comes of this desperate attempt, she demands he see her for what she is: scarred and hideous, a prodigy of pain (“Look at Me”). She looks to the heavens for a moment; the Preacher is replaced by her father. They fight, until he apologizes for what he has done (“That’s What I Could Do”). Aware that something about herself has changed, Violet assumes it is her scar; she reboards the bus, convinced she has had a miracle (“Surprised [Reprise]”).

When she gets out at the Fort Smith station, Monty is there waiting. His efforts at sympathy make plain to her that her face has not changed at all. Crushed, she rejects Monty’s invitation to marry him before he ships out to Vietnam. Flick is also at the station and recognizes that Violet has changed, though her scar has not. He entreats her to stay with him (“Promise Me, Violet [Reprise]”). At first she refuses, but her younger self appears and stops Violet from rejecting what she wants most. Violet’s healing is complete when she takes Flick’s hand and commits to a new life with him (“Bring Me to Light”).

Read more: Violet the Musical Songs with Lyrics
Synopsis to Violet the Musical