Tuesday, September 27, 2022

WE REMEMBER: Shelly Garrett ‘The Godfather of Urban Theater’ Has Died

Doris and Shelly Garrett
Doris and Shelly Garrett

*Unfortunately, we have sad news to share about a legendary urban theater director/producer/playwright. Shelly Garrett, “The Godfather of Urban Theater,” who is probably best known for his classic hit play, “Beauty Shop,” passed away today (05-03-18) after battling stomach cancer. He was 71.

Here are thoughts from friends and associates on Facebook:

Bowlegged Lou (Full Force): “Rest in peace to the trailblazing legendary Mr Shelly Garrett who passed away today. I was supposed to be a surprise guest for the tribute dinner his beloved cast and fam…”

Fred Alexander (Lakeside): “My good friend Shelly Garrett has went from labor to reward may he rest in peace my brother he will truly be missed”

Waylynn Giva Pitts: ” My friend, mentor and ol’ employer, Shelly Garrett, the Godfather of Urban Theatre, passed away this morning….I knew Shelly before the magic of the “Beauty Shop” & “Living Room”, etc. days….A sad day for the many he opened the door for, the many he was an angel to….Heaven is welcoming him with open arms….RIP, Shelly….You’ll never be forgotten….”

Garrett, a former actor, and his wife Doris ran Shelly Garrett Entertainment which is currently presenting/producing the 30th anniversary tour of “Beauty Shop.” According to the ShellyGarrettEntertainment.com website, the next performance is scheduled for this Saturday, May 5 in Albany, Georgia.

Beauty shop - albany georgia - poster

Shelly Garrett bio:

When it comes to laughter in theatre, Shelly Garrett is the master and has been for 33 years, beginning his theatrical career in 1984.

“Comedy is a difficult art,” he says. “The key is timing and if it’s not there, the entire production simply becomes a waste.”

Who can argue the perfection of his timing? 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 have estimated more than Four Million people saw Shelly Garrett’s historical “BEAUTY SHOP” stage play, which still holds box office records in more than 55 cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Oakland, San Diego, Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, Newark and 40 more American cities.

Shelly Garrett has received ‘Keys To The City’ from 23 American Cities and more than 25 City and State proclamations, plus numerous plaques, trophies and awards; more than even he can count. What an accomplishment!

In 1992, he received an honorary and prestigious HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME STAR.

Tyler Perry said, after seeing Shelly Garrett’s “BEAUTY SHOP” in 1990 at the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans, it gave him great inspiration to become a playwright.

David E. Talbert said, he saw Shelly Garrett’s “BEAUTY SHOP” in Los Angeles at the Beverly Theatre in Beverly Hills and that changed his life. He knew he was destined to become a playwright.

When we asked Shelly what makes 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.”

Read/learn more at ShellyGarrettEntertainment.

To find out out about Shelly Garrett’s (pending) going home services, how to send flowers to his family and share memories, visit visit: www.WagesFuneralHome.com.

We’ll post more info on the passing of Shelly Garrett as it becomes available.



  1. I met Shelly in Washington DC when he came to a performance of a production I was doing. Shelly was so impressed he flew me to Detroit to spend the weekend with his production and to see if we could strike a deal however that didn’t work out for me but through the years we have always stayed in touch. He was a great producer in opening the doors of theatre to many people who had never been inside a major theatre Rest in peace my brother you have labored long and hard

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