ASU alum is playwright's leading lady

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.

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

"In the play, I perform as the owner (of the titular beauty shop). But I'm also the executive producer [of the play]. And that has it's 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.

"It's 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."