Violet is an Off-Broadway musical that made its first appearance in 1998. It tells the story of young disfigured woman who embarks on a journey by bus from her farm in Spruce Pine, North Carolina, all the way to Tulsa, Oklahoma in order to be healed.
The show opens with Violet Karl's 13 year old self singing (Water in the Well) while her father is chopping wood. His axe blade suddenly comes loose and hits his daughter across the face, leaving a deep gash which runs from her nose all the way down her left cheek.
We then see the 25 year old Violet, terribly scarred from her injury, at a Greyhound bus station, boarding the bus (Surprised). Her destination is a televangelist in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that she has been watching on television for years. And being a strong believer in God, she believes that the televangelist will be able to make a direct connection from her to God and make her scar disappear. On the bus, she meets an old woman who is heading to Nashville, Tennessee to visit her son, "who works in the cellophane plant". Violet eyes the woman's pale unblemished skin with envy and thinks about the things that she would like to ask the televangelist to change about herself (On My Way).
While the bus makes a stop (M&Ms), Violet meets two soldiers: the attractive, womanizing Monty, and Flick, who is African-American. Because the story takes place during the Civil Rights Movement, Flick is often predjudiced against on the journey. Violet sits down with them and they play five card draw . Simultaneously, a flashback shows Young Violet carrying groceries into the house. Her father is upset with her because she is short on change. "That's the third time this month you've let them do this!" In attempt to teach her how to add and subtract, he teaches her how to play poker. (Luck of the Draw)
They decide to travel with each other until they have to go their separate ways. At a bus stop in Memphis, Violet plans to spend the night with some relatives she barely knows. "I have their number in my suitcase," she claims. Unfortunately, her suitcase is stolen by some mechanics, so Flick suggests that she spend the night at an old friend's small hotel. Violet, originally reluctant to the idea, decides that this is the best idea. After settling into their room, they go to a dance hall for a night on the town (Who'll Be the One (If Not Me)).
After they party, we see Violet, asleep in her hotel room. Monty comes in from his room and slips into her bed. A flashback shows Violet walking home from school, followed by Billy Dean Ellum. Billy Dean claims that he's never done "it" with a girl before. Back in the hotel, Monty falls asleep in Violet's lap and Violet sings to him. (Lay Down Your Head)
Back on the bus, Monty and Flick are preparing to say goodbye to Violet, as the next stop is hers. (Promise Me, Violet) Violet departs the bus and enters the chapel where a rehearsal is being held for the next episode of the televangelist's show. (Raise Me Up) Violet interrupts and asks the televangelist to help her. The televangelist admits he can't fulfill her request, explaining the people he "heals" are so caught up in the excitement of his program, that they end up healing themselves. Violet, feeling confused and betrayed, turns viciously upon him, mocking him with his own routine (Raise Me Up - Reprise).
She goes into a trance, imagining that she is having a conversation with her late father, begging him to confront his handiwork (Look at Me). He explains that he tried his hardest to be a good father, and assures her he never wanted to hurt her (That's What I Could Do). She comes out of her "trance" emotionally purged and, thinking she has been healed just as she had hoped (Surprised - Reprise), she gets on the next bus to where Monty and Flick are stationed (M&Ms - Reprise).
She meets up with Monty and quickly realizes that she still has the scar running across her face. She is crushed, but Flick comforts her, showing her how much both of them have changed (Promise Me, Violet - Reprise). Monty goes off to fight in Vietnam while Flick and Violet start a new life together. (Bring Me to Light)