Music and Lyrics by Carol Hall
Book by Larry L. King and Peter Masterson.
It's based on the true story of a 'pleasure palace' which existed from the 1850's called the 'The Chicken Ranch', so-called (we're told and shown in the opening scene) because when times were tough the local farmers were allowed to pay for services with poultry! Now run by the no-nonsense Miss Mona, The Chicken Ranch is just a nice old country place doing its bit for the community of Gilbert (how appropriate! Ed) and not hurting anybody.
That is, until it comes under the scrutiny of Melvin P. Thorpe, a TV evangelist loosely disguised as an investigative reporter. Fresh from the triumph of exposing a peanut bar for having fewer peanuts than advertised, Melvin reveals Gilbert's shocking secret on his "Watchdog" programme. To the backing of his own gospel choir, the Dogettes, he vows to close down The Chicken Ranch.
Melvin's crusade gets the town on edge, but just as he has set up in the main street to spread the word he runs foul of Sheriff Ed Earl. The Sheriff is an old friend of Miss Mona's, and he drives Melvin out of town with a mouthful of Texan invective unheard of on television since its invention! The victory is short-lived however, as Melvin and photographers steel into The Chicken Ranch on the night the Texas Aggies are celebrating their win in a life-or- death ball game - and footballers, girls, and a prominent senator are gleefully exposed.
How does it all end? Well you'll just have to wait until you see the show!
The appeal of the musical led to the making of a successful movie starring Dolly Parton as Miss Mona and Burt Reynolds as Ed Earl. There were a few changes: some of the songs in the stage show don't appear in the film and vice-versa; the relationship between Miss Mona and Ed Earl was romanticised; and - for some strange reason - they omitted the line where Miss M ona instructs one of her girls to remove a wig by taking "that Dolly Parton dead sheep" off her head!
The music is a blend of country, pop and gospel, there's an abundance of colourful characters (and colourful language), and as for dance - a good hoe-down is had by all!
ya'll come back now, y'hear?!
Petr Divis - Director
"A fun new musical ... Its pleasures are surprisingly innocent and despite a certain amount of raunchy language ... the humour and good nature of the piece make it cheerfully inoffensive .... The story is told with a good deal of gusto and a wealth of comic detail, chiefly concerned with Texas politics." New York Post
"A cheerful, tuneful, deeply sentimental American musical." Michael Billington, Guardian
"A whale of a good time ... A lively, genial and unassuming musical comedy ... Carol Hall ~ songs, mostly country-western, are lively and engaging ... The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is very much on the sunny side of the street ... The talk is racy and unrestrained, but all in fun ... Both sunny and funny with its cheerful disregard for reality." Daily News
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This page was last updated on February 2nd 2001.