People Are Talking








ALBANY Shelly Garrett cant quite remember his line, but he remembers the audience reaction like it was yesterday. Thats when Garrett got the acting bug.

Id been working with a lighting company at the CBS and ABC studios in LA, and I was working on the old Chico and the Man TV program, Garrett said. Jack Donohue was the director, and I told him Id like to be an extra on in episode. I wanted to be an actor.

He called me into his office one day and gave me two pages of script. He told me, Youre on the second page. I thought Id just be an extra, but I wound up having a part as a policeman with an actual line. I remember when I came out and said my line in front of the studio audience, they screamed with laughter. That was it; I had the bug.
It was the immediate reaction of a live audience that sparked something in Garrett. And while his acting career never really took off, he did find a way to replicate that audience reaction thousands and thousands of times over as a playwright.

As author, director, producer, designer chief chef and bottle washer of the groundbreaking 1989 urban play Beauty Shop and its subsequent sequels, Garrett has rung up tens of millions of dollars in ticket sales and kept audiences rolling in the aisles for more than two decades.

The latest in the line of Beauty Shop incarnations will debut Saturday at the Albany Municipal Auditorium when Garrett presents Beauty Shop 2011. The two-show run (8 p.m. Saturday and a 3 p.m. matinee Sunday, Jan. 16) will be a homecoming for the shows star, Doris Garrett, the playwrights wife.

Doris Garrett is an Albany State University alumna who was chosen queen of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and captain of the universitys Royal Passionettes dance team.

Weve always wanted to do the show in Albany, so Im excited about this opportunity, Doris Garrett, who was introduced to her future husband by a mutual friend in Atlanta, said while in town Wednesday to promote Beauty Shop 2011.

Shelly Garrett said hed been trying to bring his play to Albany for the last couple of years, but he couldnt get officials at the Albany Civic Center to return his calls. And he said when he contacted a city official, he was discouraged from bringing his show to Albany.
We were told the play wouldnt do well here, Garrett said. I was amazed, because my wife has ties here. But we tend not to concentrate on the negative.

Albany audiences will witness a show that influenced such noted African-American auteurs as Tyler Perry and David E. Talbert.
Tyler Perry told me he saw Beauty Shop three times when we took the show to New Orleans, and David E. Talbert told me hed seen the show and felt compelled to do something similar, Shelly Garrett said. People have asked me why I dont do movies like Tyler does, but its not something Im interested in doing.

If theres a movie out there, why would anyone pay a higher price to go see the live play? Besides, weve done all right. The play made $33 million in its first 3 1/2-year run.

After his one line on Chico and the Man, Garrett became something of a rising star in Hollywood. He landed roles in McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, GMC and Dr Pepper ads, and from those he was able to get bit parts in TV dramas like Baretta, Rockford Files, McCloud, The $6 Million Man, Police Woman, Quincy and other procedurals.

But the process of doing small TV parts and ads did not excite Garrett.
Youd have to be on the set for makeup at 5:30 a.m., and you might not be on camera until 4 that afternoon, he said. Most of the actors just read books or sat around, but I went out and watched the director, the sound people, the camera crews to see how they put everything together.

Garrett got his last conventional role after answering an ad in the casting periodical Drama-logue. He was cast as Dootsie Williams, the real-life owner of DooTone Records, in the entrepreneurs production of Earth Angel.

It wasnt a very good play, and when we performed there might be 10 people in the small theater ... and they were usually friends or relatives of the actors, Garrett said. If an actor made a mistake, Dootsie would call out from the audience, I didnt write that. It was hilarious.
I went to him one day since I was playing him and suggested a different line at one point in the play. He started yelling at me, telling me, You dont change my script. If youre so smart, why dont you go write a play of your own, Youre fired!

While Williams may not have been offering literal advice, Garrett took him up on the challenge. He wrote his first play, Snuff and Miniskirts, which sold out a 300-seat LA theater for a six-week run.
Soon after, Garrett wrote Beauty Shop. With it came the live audience reaction Garrett had grown to crave.

It just clicked, the playwright said. Audiences loved it. It was the first stage play at the Wilshire-Ebel Theatre in Los Angeles, the first to play at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.c., and the first to play The Beacon Theatre in New York City.

In fact, Beauty Shop was at the famed Beacon for 13 weeks, and each of the eight weekly shows was a sellout.
People need and want to laugh, Garrett said.
Garrett wrote other plays notably Im Doing the Right Thing With the Wrong Man, the first play in which he cast his future wife but audiences kept demanding more Beauty Shop. He acquiesced, updating the original in Beauty Shop Part 2, Beauty Shop 10 Years Later, Beauty Shop Under New Management, and Beauty Shop The Original Stage Play, which was recorded by Urban Works Productions during a 16-night run in Dallas for DVD production.
Now comes Beauty Shop 2011.

It updates the story again, Garrett said. Instead of Chris the flamboyantly gay character whose been in all of the plays and who everyone loves owning the beauty shop, its now owned by the lovely Champagne Miller, who happens to be played by Doris.
Its her first starring role, but I think shes going to nail it. From the first time I put her in one of my plays, I realized that she was born to do this. She just takes over the stage when shes on it.

Garrett, who was forced onto the stage when his lead actor was grounded on Sept. 11, 2001 after the World Trade Center and Pentagon terrorist attacks, also has a role on the 2011 production.
Funny thing about acting in the play, I wrote it but I didnt know the lines, Garrett laughs. When I had to replace Larry Blackmon at that 9-11 show in South Bend, Ind., I had post-its hidden all over the stage. Id put them where the audience couldnt see them and read them.
Everyone in the crew was dying laughing at that.

Garrett said his team of actors and his production crew are ready to wow Southwest Georgia theater buffs.

People here will be totally entertained, he said. Theyll laugh, there will be some tears, and there will be a lot of singing. I guarantee its going to bring goosebumps to their arms and neck ... and thats by intermission.

When they meet up with friends in the lobby during intermission and theyre asked how they like the show, I dont want them to say Its OK. I want them to feel like theyve already gotten their moneys worth. I want them to tell each other, I cant wait for the second act.

The husband and wife team of Doris and Shelly Garrett will bring the latest update of the renowned urban play Beauty Shop to Albany for two shows Jan. 15-16

ASU alum is playwrights leading lady

January 9, 2011

A 1984 Albany State University graduate will have the starring role in a play coming to the Albany Municipal Auditorium.





ALBANY Doris Garrett is the leading lady that playwright Shelly Garrett was searching for.

An Albany State University graduate, Doris met her husband through mutual friends while attending one of his plays in Atlanta, and the two have been producing and performing together ever since.
Shelly Garrett, originally of Los Angeles, says that his writing career has been thriving since the 1980s, before he and Doris even met.
Our first show was in Detroit. We started with eight shows a week, and every show was sold out, he said. We went to 66 cities in three and a half years. When we started losing steam, I just wrote another one.

This creative energy led to the production of variations on his now-famous work Beauty Shop.

Garrett has constantly altered the play throughout the years, says his wife and the star of Beauty Shop 2011, and it is still a work in progress.

Doris Garrett says her husband, as playwright and producer, is very exacting.

Hes constantly adding things and taking things out, she said. If he thinks something will be funnier or more interesting, hell change it. He likes tweaking the show.

In the play, I perform as the owner (of the titular beauty shop). But Im also the executive producer [of the play]. And that has its own hat. I get involved with everything. But I really enjoy being in business with my husband. It makes performing that much more fun.

On a personal level, Garrett said she feels her performance in this play should be relatable for everyone in the audience.

Its funny, and people enjoy it because these characters are people you would see in a real beauty shop, she said. People will watch it and go, I know a person just like that!

Garrett said that she enjoys acting, but the Albany showing of the play, which will run Saturday and Jan. 16 at the Albany Municipal Auditorium, is very special to her.

When my mom got to see me perform before she passed away, that was a dramatic moment, she said. It was a happy moment, knowing my mom was there, but it was also overwhelming. Performing in Albany feels almost the same as performing for my mom. This is like my second home, and I am so excited to be here.






The hit play Beauty Shop comes to town

by Ryan Houston

ALBANY,  GA (WALB) The 25 year old stage play Beauty Shop comes to town next week. It's been shown in Los Angles, New York and next Saturday, you can see it right here in Albany.

Beauty Shop was so successful on Broadway, it beat out Cats for the number one position. If you've seen Beauty Shop with Queen Latifah, or Hair Show with Monique, this is the play it was based on.

It deals with day to day life, that women face every time they want a new hair-do. With so many different women in and out of the beauty shop, it can be a pretty unpredictable place.

"The characters are just all over the place, and my character tries to keep everything together," said star of the Beauty Shop Doris Garrett.

However, in Shelly's Garret's Beauty shop, you never know what to expect once you sit down in that chair. "Ladies know what goes on in a beauty shop. They gossip, talk about men, and sometimes talk about each other," said Beauty Shop Playwright Shelly Garrett.

"It's basically like a regular beauty shop. We talk about different things just like in a real shop," said Doris Garrett. 

This 25 year old play was born after Shelly Garrett came in one day to relax. "Basically when he was at the salon, things happened. He thought it would be a great idea to write about things that naturally happen," said Doris Garrett. @

His play was so successful, it had three movie spins offs, The Beauty Shop, Hair show and The Salon. "It was real strange. All in the same year, different companies were contacting me about doing the movie Beauty Shop," said Shelly Garrett. 

"All of those movies were based on Shelly's stage play. He rewrites his plays all the time," said Doris Garrett. 

Even Tyler Perry was motivated to write, after watching this show over 15 years ago. "Tyler Perry said He saw the play three times when he was living in New Orleans. It's really inspiring," said Shelly Garrett.

Come on in and wash the stress of the day away and enjoy the beauty shop for all it has to offer. Tickets are selling fast. Depending on where the seat, you could end up paying $25 to $35 for a seat. 

The show starts promptly at 8:00pm Saturday January 15th, at the Albany Municipal Auditorium. There will also be a matinee showing, Sunday January 16th at 3:00pm.

2011 WALB News. All rights reserved.

          Shelly Garrett's Record Setting Beauty Shop
                            Historic African American Theatre Tours





                               Americas Top Selling African American Live Stage Play
Since December 26, 1921 the theatre has brought audiences first rate performances from some of the worlds best singers, dancers, actresses and other artists. October 17, 2009 the theatre ushered in writer, director and producer Shelly Garretts historically successful live stage play Beauty Shop 2009.

After Beauty Shop opened in 1989, the production toured the United States for three years. According to the plays official program, at the end of the tour, Beauty Shop had entertained audiences in sixty-five cities. The production opened at New York Citys Beacon Theatre for a stretch of thirteen weeks in its early days, selling the 2,800 seat auditorium out for each show.

                                         Shelly Garrett Mounting Creative Works
Other plays that Shelly Garrett has created, directed or/and produced include Youre Gonna Make Me Love Somebody Else, The Living Room, What Kinda Love Is This, Im Doing the Right Thing With the Wrong Man and The Angels of Christmas. At his official website Shelly Garrett also offers up and coming playwrights training through conferences. Effective script formats, how to determine if a show is comedy, gospel or inspirational work, intermission lengths, copyrighting a script and knowing how long to create each act are subjects covered during the training conferences.

Earlier in his career, Shelly Garrett partnered with ABC Television and created New Attitudes, a television sitcom that openly displayed the talents of actresses and actors like Sheryl Lee Ralph, Phyllis Stickney, Morris Day and Janet DuBois, one of the starring actresses from the 1970s hit comedic sitcom Good Times. Other talented actresses and actors Shelly Garrett has worked with include Vivica Fox, Kym Whitley, Garrett Morris and Darrin Henson.

                                                   Godfather of Black Theatre
To date Shelly Garrett has written, directed and produced 17 stage plays. His work ethic has caused some people to refer to him as the Godfather of Black Theatre. In September 2009, Garrett married Doris Gadson, an actress and business woman who presently serves at the executive producer for Shelly Garrett Entertainment.

Beauty Shops current production team includes ventriloquist Willie Brown and his side kick Woody, Doris Garrett, Tabitha King, Melissa Chambers, Byron Mims, Darlene Allen and Dunnovan Waddell. Darlene and Dunnovan portray two of the most outlandish characters in the play that pulls the audience into parts of the act.

Although the October 17, 2009 showing of Beauty Shop was advertised in local markets to include singing sensation, Johnny Gill, Johnny was not in the October 17 show. Laughter was still aplenty and Tabitha King and Byron Mims sang their way to loud applause.

                                     What Does The Future Hold For Shelly Garrett
Time will tell what Shelly Garrett and his entertainment group takes on and achieves next. Over the years, African American live stage play productions have been extended across broader markets by talented African American leaders and writers, directors and producers like Tyler Perry. The latest Beauty Shop speaks to the wrongs of domestic violence and the power of true romantic love.

Shelly Garrett's plays are available at the venues where the live stage plays are performed. Theatre goers and movie lovers can also get copies of Shelly Garrett's plays from his website:

Kym Whitley is an accomplished actress and comedian who has appeared in the following films and television shows: "College Road Trip" with Martin Lawrence and Raven Symone; "That's So Raven"; "Beauty Salon"; "The Parkers"; "Curb Your Enthusiam"; "Moesha"; "My Brother and Me"; "Parent 'Hood"; one of the "Adults" on "All That". Presently, she can be seen in the smash hit "Boondocks." She had her own talk show "Oh Drama" on BET.

      Ms. Whitley is a graduate of Fisk University and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Over the past years, she has helped to raise thousands of dollars for her alma mater by appearing on such shows as the "Tom Joyner Morning Show".

      A self-professed "class clown," Ms. Whitley decided to pursue her acting career after college. Despite her father and uncle, renowned Cleveland, Ohio architects hoping that she would join the family's firm, she decided to pursue her dream. She packed her bags and headed to Los Angeles, California.

Her first acting gig was in Shelly Garrett's "Beauty Shop". "When I heard Shelly Garrett's playadvertised on the radio, I knew that I had to be a part of it. When I tried, there were no available parts. So I wrote one and presented it to Mr. Garrett. He loved it and the part of Sister Rosemary, the church lady, was born." Whitley went on to be in national television commercials and played actor Jackee Harry's twin sister in "Double Your Pleasure," a NBC Movie of the Week. She had recurring roles in "Martin" and "Married With Children." She played in "Sparks and Sparks," a television hit show. She was also a regular on Nickelodeon's "My Brother and Me," and "All That."

      Ms. Whitley advises others to also follow their dreams. She says stay motivated and never stop pursuing your goals until success is achieved. 

Comedy lovers have a thang

for Ms. Jones














Retha Jones, a native of Los Angeles, tried her hand in modeling where she did a few runway fashion shows in Los Angeles. 


After her brief stroll down the cat walks, Retha was cast in a 50 city tour with Americas number one black stage play, Shelly Garretts Beauty Shop.

Shortly after her return from the Beauty Shop tours closing in 1991, Rethas decided to pursue a career in stand up comedy. She has since been literally tickling funny bones across America having made several television appearances on BETs Comic View, Comedy Centrals Premium Blend, HBOs Def Comedy Jam, and NBCs Last Comic Standing where she reached the semi finals.

Retha can also be seen in various film and television projects such as UPNs One on One, Lifetimes Strong Medicine, and Breakaway Films My Big Phat Hip Hop Family.
When in Los Angeles, Retha can be found at the World Famous COMEDY STORE where she has performed as a paid regular in all of the clubs spectacular rooms for over 10 years. She recently spoke to Bean Soup Times publisher Toure Muhammad and shared her life experiences and infectious laugh.