Carter Stanley Play Goes Out West to Arizona!

Gary Reid as Carter Stanley
Five locations throughout Arizona are featuring performances of a one-man play called A Life of Sorrow, the Life and Times of Carter Stanley.

He played the music, he wrote the songs, and… he self-destructed.  With his brother, famed Appalachian performer Ralph Stanley, he fronted a bluegrass-styled band from 1946 until his untimely passing at the age of 41 in 1966.

As the Stanley Brothers, they were the second professional band to perform the style of music that came to be known as bluegrass.  The program touches on a variety of aspects from the rich and colorful life of this legendary mountain musician.

“People need to see this!”  ….. Roddy Moore, producer of the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, Ferrum, Virginia.
Carter Stanley was an expressive singer and a prolific songwriter. Bill Monroe, the acknowledged Father of Bluegrass, once called him the “best natural lead singer” he’d ever heard. The songs he wrote and the recordings he made helped form the foundation of a music that is now a world-wide phenomenon. Gone from the music scene for 50 years, his legacy is largely forgotten.   A Life of Sorrow affords today’s audiences a chance to connect with this bluegrass legend as he recounts highlights from his life and career, including childhood days on the family farm, old-time musicians who influenced him, his songwriting, struggles with alcohol, stories from life on the road, and his admiration for Bill Monroe.

“You really inhabit the character... no false, ‘theatrical,’ distractions.  The strength of the show -- and it does have plenty -- is in its intimate, non-theatricality.  Really, well done!”  …..Bruce Nemerov, contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered.

A Life of Sorrow is the creation of Roanoke, Virginia, actor Gary Reid.  A bluegrass enthusiast and historian for over 40 years, he is regarded as the foremost authority on the music of the Stanley Brothers.  After many years of research, his book, The Music of the Stanley Brothers, is now available!  It traces the duo’s 20-year recording history. In 2009, Reid conceived the idea of putting together a one-man show about Carter Stanley.

To that end, he took two semesters of acting at Virginia Western Community College and has since appeared in more than 60 productions and events at regional community theatres as an actor, producer, and stage manager and has appeared in several short films and commercials.

Most recently, he won second place at the Sounds of the Mountains storytelling competition in Fincastle, Virginia, and is the 2015 recipient for the IBMA’s Print/Media Person of the Year award.  Reid’s work with Fred Bartenstein on The Bluegrass Hall of Fame Inductee Biographies book earned a 2015 ARSC Award for Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research.

“Gary, wonderful show last night!  You really seemed to embody Carter, plus I loved the Monroe bit.”  Thomas Goldsmith, Raleigh News-Observer

As a long-time fan of the music of Carter and Ralph Stanley, Reid has spent years collecting memorabilia of the brothers and has all of their single and album releases as well as some 80 hours of live recordings and close to 500 photos.  But, he says, “Can you ever have too much?”  Reid enjoys meeting and talking with fans who knew or saw the Stanley Brothers in years gone by, and encourages them to bring photos to the show and share.

  • “Lovely job!”  …..Eugene Wolf, Actor/Director at Virginia's Barter Theatre.

  • We really enjoyed Thursday evening. Great to see you and your play. I hope it continues to grow and prosper.”  …..Ron Shuffler, bluegrass musician.

  • “I think you've got something special here, and I congratulate you for realizing a dream!” …. Penny Parsons, Penny Parsons Publicity, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

  • What an awe inspiring performance.” …. Wanda Dalton, bluegrass songwriter, Floyd, Virginia.

Five Arizona Performances:

  • When: Thursday, February 4, 2016 @7:00 PM; Info:  718-374-1086 
  • Where: Cattle Track Theatre, 6105 N. Cattle Track Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85250For reservations:  https://www.brownpapertickets.com/

  • When: Friday, February 5, 2016 @10:30 AM; Info:  (928) 782-1871 
  • Where: Foothills Branch Library Yuma, 13226 East South Frontage Road, Yuma, AZ 85367

  • When: Friday, February 5, 2016 @2:30 AM; Info:  (928) 782-1871
  • Where: Yuma Main Library, 2951 South 21st Dr., Yuma, AZ 85364

  • When: Saturday, February 6, 2016 @4:00 PM; Info:  (520) 394-2010 
  • Where: Patagonia Public Library, 342 Duquesne Ave, Patagonia, AZ 85624
  • When: Tuesday, February 9, 2016 @ 10:15 AM; Info:  (928) 425-6111 
  • Where: Globe Active Adult Center, 579 S. Broad Street, Globe, AZ  85501


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