Music & Lyrics by Carol Hall
Direction & Choreography by Kevin Bellie
Music Direction by Josh Walker
At Circle Theatre, Forest Park
Tuneful and wonderful choreography make for a fun adult musical
The creative artists at Circle Theatre have a long history of making large scale musicals work with non-Equity players on a small stage. Their latest, the country & western flavored Broadway musical, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, is another winning production. Despite have some raunchy moments and adult language, Little Whorehouse is a funny, satirical and toe-tapping evening of high energy entertainment.
We meet Miss Mona (Anita Hoffman) and her girls from the Chicken Ranch, the long-running Texas establishment of ill repute as they tell a couple of newbies about their ‘business’ with the bouncy “Little Bitty Pissant Country Place.” We see the warm-hearted caring Miss Mona in her “You’re A Woman.”
It’s the 1970’s and TV has changed rural Texas as the evangelical nut chase Melvin P. Thorpe (Michael A. Gravame) and his followers gospel sing the horrors of the evil Chicken Ranch Whorehouse. Noah Sullivan is the foul-mouthed tolerant country Sheriff Earl Dodd who cares about Miss Mona and covers for her business.
When the football players win the big game, State Senator Wingwoah (Gregory Payne0 treats them to a night of ‘fun’ at the Chicken Ranch with the locker room dance tune, “The Aggie Song.”
Among the excellent satirical show-stoppers is the cute “Sidestep” that features Kirk Swenk as the Texas governor as he attempts to get around all the press scrutiny concerning the Chicken Ranch. This number was a hoot!
The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas features a nice blend of adult humor, sweet country ballads and rip-roaring high energy dance tunes that make for a pleasing light-weight Broadway musical. Kevin Bellie, as usual, mounts several large ensemble dance tunes where he has his dancers moving deftly on his small stage. Bellie combines sensual movements from both the girls and the boys and celebratory moments to produce a fabalous dance oriented show.
Noah Sullivan, as the Sheriff and Anita Hoffman, as Miss Mona anchor the musical. Hoffman sings her heart out as she nails the country style with aplomb. The ensemble work here from both Miss Mona’s girls and the boys added effective singing, dancing and acting to the production. Kevin Bellie has a tight, flowing show that looks terrific with Jesus Perez’s costumes and sounds excellent from Josh Walker’s orchestra. You’d be hard pressed to find a finer non-Equity production of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas than the fine Circle theatre production.
At Circle Theatre, 7300 W. Madison, Forest Park, IL for more info call 708-771-0700. Running time is 2 hours, 25 minutes with intermission.