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  • Lamesa native brings show to Snyder
    ONE MAN SHOW Well known actor Barry Corbin is telling his stories about his life and career in “An Evening with Barry Corbin” at the Worshom Auditorium in Snyder at 7 p.m., Saturday. He was born in Lamesa where he first attended elementary school befo

Lamesa native brings show to Snyder

It’s been three or four months since actor Barry Corbin visited the place where he was born 83 years ago.

When he came back to Lamesa, no one noticed because no one was notified about his trip. He strolled downtown to see the closed Majestic Theater, where he saw old westerns as a kid on Saturdays for seven-cents, and where there once was a nearby family-owned store named Farmer’s Bakery. The Leonard Farmer family were his neighbors and sometimes he’d get a free donut.

He viewed The Wall, the place where Lamesa High School seniors etch their names in paint on the walls of a downtown building every May before graduation day. He first experienced the Wall in 1943-1944 when he was a toddler. He couldn’t read the students’ names or their messages, but he liked the colors.

“Well, I actually loved the time I spent there, but I was not there very long. My dad was county judge there for two terms. Then he got old enough to run for state senate,” Corbin said. “Then we moved to Austin for awhile and then we moved in Lubbock. He wanted us to be in Lubbock so the kids could go to Texas Tech and we could live at home. He didn’t anticipate what kind of trouble my brother and I would be.

“My sister didn’t cause any problems. She married early and is a great-grandmother. She’s been married about 55 years to the same guy.”

He was 12 or 14 years old when he notified his father that he didn’t need to attend college.

“I don’t need to go to school because I’m going to be an actor. He said that’s a good hobby for somebody, but you need to make a living. I said I’m going to make a living doing that,” Corbin said. “I didn’t realize how difficult it was going to be, but it worked out. He was very surprised that I was making a living in acting in New York.”

He attended Texas Tech University in Lubbock where he performed in several plays before joining the U.S. Marine Corps. He returned to Texas Tech after serving 1.5 years in the military. He was honorably discharged for medical reasons.

He didn’t graduate from college.

“I didn’t have any of the requirements (to graduate). All I did was take drama classes so I could be in the play,” Corbin said. “If they weren’t doing plays that season, I would just go work on the oil rig.”

Corbin’s mother, LaMerle, was a school teacher and his father, Kilmer Blaine Corbin, was a school principal, judge and state senator. His father served two terms in the Texas State Senate from 1949 to 1957.

Corbin’s now returning closer to Lamesa, but still 60 miles out, when he takes the stage for a live show called, “ An Evening with Barry Corbin” at the Worshom Auditorium in Snyder at 7 p.m., Saturday. General tickets are $40.

“Barry Corbin tells these really incredible stories. Every live show he does is different, because he’s always got new stories,” said his publicist and tour manager, Barry Rogers.

“Barry’s taken his show all over Texas and we’re expecting a big crowd in Snyder. I know he’d also like to bring this event to Lamesa one of these days. He really loves this area.”

The show features photo presentations from some of Corbin’s most cherished moments on and off the set. The event is highly interactive with Corbin taking questions from a moderator and the audience. He’ll also do photos and sign autographs afterwards.

“Well, I’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and first we had the COVID thing and we started getting back a little bit,” Corbin said. “Then writers went on strike and the actors went on strike. And I really needed to get back to work.”

The show isn’t scripted. He first got some advice from the late actor Hal Holbrook about how to handle a one-man show. His suggestion was to pick the stories to tell based upon the type of audience.

“It’s really an improvisation. I talked to Holbrook about his Mark Twain. Every time he did it, he did it differently each time,” Corbin said.

Holbrook spent six decades performing a one-man stage show centered around author Mark Twain’s experiences and life story. Holbrook won the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play in 1966 for his portrayal of Twain. He continued to perform his signature role until his retirement in 2017. He died in 2021 at the age of 95.

“So, that’s what I kind of do with my stories. It’s stories from my childhood and sometimes I go back as far as Lamesa when I was in the first and second grade,” Corbin said. “After that I moved to Lubbock, but I always had ties to Lamesa because my grandparents lived there. They had a farm east of town on Lubbock Hwy. so I was there a lot.”

The show is in three parts. He’ll start off with Shakespeare since people always ask how an actor with a Texas accent sounds quoting from The Barb’s plays.

“Then I just start telling stories. I tell stories about people I’ve known; about people in the business, people people are familiar with,” Corbin said. “I tell them about the first time I was on stage which was the First Baptist Church in Lamesa. I tell them about those things, and what my life was like there and how I got interested in theater. I talk about my early life and my stage life. I didn’t make my first movie until I was nearly 40. A lot of it was on stage.

“Then we take a little intermission. I tell the audience, go out and visit the snack bar, and then we will have a question session and then I’ll sit out in the lobby and sign pictures. That’s basically what the show is.”

Before he made his first on screen appearance in the hit film, “ Urban Cowboy,” Corbin had already acted in theater for over 20 years. He started off performing on stages in West Texas and eventually acting in plays all along the East Coast. Corbin was known as a classically trained Shakespearean actor.

He’s earned over 230 acting credits in the past 40 years. Fans remember him in the television series, “ Lonesome Dove” and “ Northern Exposure.” His career is still going strong with roles most recently in “ The Ranch,” Yellowstone,” Tulsa King,” and “ Killers of the Flower Moon,” a film nominated for 10 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director.

He’s won many cuttinghorse competitions. He was inducted into the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in 2014, and the Texas Film Hall of Fame in 2012.

Corbin currently lives in Hardley on three acres with his wife, Jo, and two large English Mastiffs.

“I don’t have any livestock,” Corbin said. “I’ve got a couple of dogs that pass for livestock. One weighs 250 pounds and the other weighs 235.”

Visit www.ritzcommunitytheatre. org/current-season for more information about Corbin’s upcoming show.

Lamesa Press-Reporter

P.O. Box 710
Lamesa, TX 79331