Faye Lane’s Beauty Shop Stories is the critically acclaimed autobiographical solo musical, told through hilarious and heartfelt story and song, of Faye’s childhood in her mother’s beauty salon in Texas. Faye, on a stage bare except for a microphone and her accompanist at a piano, recounts the memories of a fat little girl sitting on the front porch in a glittered-up Burger King crown, dreaming of telling stories and singing songs on the stage. The show is the Winner of the New York International Fringe Festival’s Overall Excellence Award for a Solo Show, the MAC Award for Special Production and the Bistro Award for Musical Comedy. After a long residency at New York’s legendary SoHo Playhouse, these glittered-up memories of a Texas Green Bean Queen have been adored by audiences throughout the country and around the world.

Faye’s unique blending of story and song led New York Magazine to say “She had them gobbling from the palm of her hand… they were howling, crying, falling in love with her.”  Faye is a featured author of the New York Times Best Seller The Moth: 50 True Stories and has been featured on public radio’s Peabody Award winning Moth Radio Hour and NPR’s Cityscapes. Directed by the award-winning Jay Rogers,  Faye Lane's Beauty Shop Stories features music written by Carol Hall (music and lyrics for The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), Keith Thompson, and Larry Rosen. 


My name is Faye Lane, and I'm a writer and performer living in New York City. But on the inside I'm still Rhonda Faye Gunnels, who grew up in her mama's beauty shop in Texas. Casa Vale Beauty Salon was an old A-Frame house that was converted into a salon, with big mirrors and swivel chairs in the front room and shampoo bowls in the old back bedroom. And on the front porch? A fat little girl in a glittered-up Burger King crown, practicing her beauty queen acceptance speech and dreaming of being a star of the stage!

Teased mercilessly at school for being fat, I spent most of my time daydreaming on the front porch with a MoonPie in my hand, or giving mandatory concerts for the ladies held captive under the dryers. Mama had a long line of hood dryers on one wall, and I would wait until the ladies were assembled, grab a hairbrush to use as a microphone, and the show would begin!

My shows were made up of stories and songs, mostly true and sometimes outrageous, which is a pretty fair description of this show. I've always especially loved true stories, because my greatest wish is to be connected to other people, and even as a child I knew that our stories connect us to one another in a meaningful way.

This show was in development for many years, and thanks to the thriving New York storytelling and comedy communities, I was able to workshop the individual stories in this show on a lot of great stages! In New York, stories and songs from this show have been presented at Caroline's on Broadway, Comix, The Pulse Theater, Stage Left, The Time Out New York Lounge, 92nd Street Y Tribeca, and Joe's Pub at the Public Theater.

In 2007, one of my Beauty Shop Stories won the celebrated Moth StorySlam, hailed by The Wall Street Journal as “New York's hottest, hippest literary ticket.” And since winning the Los Angeles Moth StorySlam in 2008, I've been performing them regularly in Los Angeles as well. I've told stories in LA at King King, Tangier Lounge, Tongue and Groove, Hotel Cafe, BANG, El Cid, and the Hollywood Book Fair.

As a regular cast member of Andy Christie's wonderful The Liar Show, I've told my stories at The Improv in Washington DC, The Jewel Box Theater in Seattle, L'Etage in Philadelphia, The Skull Club in New Orleans, the Victoria Event Center in Victoria BC, and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where we received a glowing four star review from The Scotsman!

These stories have also been broadcast on public radio, both locally on NPR's Cityscapes and nationally on The Moth Radio Hour. And thanks to the broad and generous public radio listening audience, I've had heartfelt emails from people all over the country telling me how much the stories resonate with them.

And how exciting to have one of them featured in a New York Times Best Seller!

So what comes next for these stories and this show? I don't know. But in the words of my fellow Moth storyteller, Malcolm Gladwell, “I have found the thing that captures my imagination, and I have faith that it will take me someplace meaningful.” I hope it takes you someplace meaningful, too. Or at least I hope it makes you laugh. Somewhere out there in the space-time continuum is a fat little girl in a glittered up Burger King crown who would love that. And she's thrilled beyond belief to get to do this!

photo by: Anne Dalin