Shelly Garrett said he was told the same thing in the 1980s, when he was trying to sell the idea of a play about some black folks at a beauty shop.
"They said nobody would ever come to a show called 'Beauty Shop,' especially men," he said. "It went on to do $33 million [in revenue]. It's the largest-grossing African-American play in history.
"The important thing is to surround yourself with positive people."
In 2002, the movie "Barbershop," adapted from one of Garrett's shows and staring Ice Cube, hit theaters. An adaptation of "Beauty Shop," starring Queen Latifah, hit the screen in 2005.
The local debut of "Battered but not Broken" has been cast. Garrett picked Atlanta-area actors Byron Mims and Trabrien Jones for the lead roles. The theater has been booked, and ticket prices were to be discussed and set this week.
Tickets go on sale Tuesday. The Charleston debut will run July 5-8.
The national tour will probably be set to begin in February 2013. "I want to let people relax from the elections and relax from the holidays," Garrett said. "We'll start advertising it in the middle of January.
"This is not community theater we're doing here," he said. "This is going to be -- and it is -- a national touring show."
After 26 years in the theater industry, Garrett knows a thing or two about writing and staging plays. Unlike many domestic violence efforts -- which are either preachy, bad, boring or all three -- "Battered but not Broken" combines an inspirational message with a serious theme, music, some comedic relief and audience participation, he said.
"You've got to grab people in the first five minutes," he said. "The show is shocking. But it's also 100 percent entertainment."
To find out more about Saturday's fundraising gala, email Wilson at i...@milkywayproductions.net.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.