THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS
is based on the true story of a legendary Texas brothel known
as the Chicken Ranch which operated from the 1840s to 1973 when
it was finally shut down by the efforts of a crusading Houston
radio commentator and his conservative audience.
The musical begins during the last days of the Chicken Ranch
(which earned its name because, during the depression, customers
were allowed to pay with poultry!) Melvin P. Thorpe, a television
broadcaster eager for the spotlight, has just scored a career
triumph by exposing a peanut bar for not having as many peanuts
as advertised. And now he turns his attention to what is potentially
a much bigger triumph--this appalling thing he calls "loveless
copulation" at the Chicken Ranch. Although many of the state's
politicians have, in fact, been customers of the brothel, they
are eager to preserve their political careers and thus choose
to publically denounce the Chicken Ranch and its inhabitants.
Finally, in spite of the protection of the local sheriff, Miss
Mona, the proprietress of the Chicken Ranch, is thrown out onto
the street along with all of her girls, even as Melvin P. Thorpe
receives a commendation from the Governor for his services to
the state of Texas.
THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS was originally
produced at the Actor's Studio, New York, on October 20, 1977.
It was subsequently produced at the Entermedia Theatre, New York,
on April 17, 1978. This production was directed by Peter Masterson
and Tommy Tune, with choreography by Tommy Tune, and featured
Carlin Glynn as "Miss Mona" and Henderson Forsythe
as "Ed Earl Dodd." On June 19, 1978, the musical moved
to the 46th Street Theatre on Broadway. There, it enjoyed a run
of 1584 performances before closing on March 27, 1982. The 1982
film version, which includes additional songs by Dolly Parton,
features Parton as "Miss Mona" and Burt Reynolds as
"Ed Earl Dodd."