Slated for another run of his most popular historical stage play "Beauty Shop" on May 5, the theatrical legend Shelly Garrett passes just two days before the show after privately battling stomach cancer.
Known as The Godfather of Urban Theater, 33 years ago he introduced the world to a new culture of theater tailored for black entertainment with all black cast and storylines that captured urban audiences. Inspiring so many up and coming playwrights across the country, Garrett is the man credited for that spark towards theater.
When we asked Shelly what mades him so popular with those who love the theatre, he answered, “I refuse to cheat my fans who spend their hard-earned dollars on a ticket to a Shelly Garrett Production. It's just wrong! So many people are rushing to throw these shows together now-a-days, just trying to get the dollar. But they quickly realize these audiences are not stupid; they can tell if a show is worthy of their time and more so, of their money."
Included in the many faces of this multi-faceted man is his reputation for being positive. He says, “Always have a positive attitude and surround yourself with positive people.” “Don’t let anyone, including any unsupportive family members try and convince you that your dream is impossible, because it's not; please believe that!"
He took the traditional "upper-class" theatrical art form and presented it in such a way that not only regular theatergoers lined-up around the block to see his shows, but literally millions of people all across America, whom had never seen a stage play before, came-out of their comfortable homes to see his productions, which began the national theatre craze of touring stage productions.
Experts estimated more than Four Million people saw Shelly Garrett's historical "BEAUTY SHOP". Then there was the ABC television sitcom, “New Attitudes" based on Shelly Garrett's "BEAUTY SHOP, as well as How three feature films. "The Salon" starring Vivica A. Fox and Terrence Howard; "Hair Show" starring Monique and "Beauty Shop"starring Queen Latifah.
October 2016, Shelly Garrett received notification he had been inducted into the new SMITHSONIAN NATIONAL MUSEUM of AFRICAN-AMERICAN HISTORY and CULTURE in WASHINGTON, D.C. The museum was inaugurated on Saturday, September 24th, 2016, by PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA.
Alabaster Box Productions and TaylorMade Videography have been slated to present "Shelly Garrett: A Theatrical Legend." This documentary will tell the story of Shelly Garrett's journey becoming the Godfather of Urban Theater and is slated to premiere in the Summer 2018.
Your contribution to the arts will forever be engraved on the hearts of the audiences who loved your shows and the playwrights you inspired across the world. Rest in Peace Shelly Garrett. You will forever be missed.