Friday, August 08, 2014

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas rides again!

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas returns to Broadway for a revival under the direction of Rob Ashford
Friends and neighbors, if you were broken up about missing the Theatre Under the Stars' production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas staged at Houston's Miller Outdoor Theatre last month (and really, you have every right to be. I was fortunate enough to be a guest for their production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas during it's run at the Hobby Center in 2012, and it was downright fantastic!) then do I have good news for you! News broke yesterday that the Tony Award-winning musical is getting its very own Broadway revival! This marks the first time the show's been performed on Broadway since the original 1978 production enjoyed a spectacular run of 1,584 shows.

Now wait a cotton-picking minute, you're probably thinking to yourself right now. If you know your Whorehouse history (and you know you do) you're looking at your Ann-Margret soundtrack and saying, "But Jayme! What about Ann-Margret's successful run as Miss Mona circa 2001-2002? I didn't just imagine that, did I?" You, you certainly did not. You are correct the immortal Ann-Margret headlined a successful re-staging of Whorehouse, along with Gary Sandy of WKRP in Cincinnati fame as Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd. The original play's songwriter, Carol Hall, even penned a new song, "A Friend to Me," for Ann-Margret. It was kind of a big deal. The thing is, that was a national touring show. It played pretty much everywhere except Broadway.

So what do we know about this new show? Not much, actually. It's more or less the same show Larry L. King, Peter Masterson, Carol Hall and Tommy Tune struck it two-thirds rich with (as King liked to say) back in 1978. The announced director/choreographer is Rob Ashford, a big name in Broadway circles. He's got Tony, Emmy and Olivier awards on his mantlepiece, so it's hard to argue with his credentials. He was the creative force behind “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” with Daniel Radcliffe, "Macbeth" with Kenneth Branagh, “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Rachel Weisz, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and the 81st Academy Awards. Other than that, little information has been released--no theatre, dates or actors are known.

On the bright side, there continues to be no movement on Universal's remake of the mediocre 1982 film version of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds. While it's hard to imagine the remake could do much worst than Burt Reynolds singing, the fact that the producers, Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, are the folks who gave us the Twilight movies. I can see it now: All the prostitutes sparkle beautifully in sunlight.

Enough of the history lesson, Jayme (you're saying to yourself right now, I'll wager). Tell us what's really important--how does this impact your book on the history of the Chicken Ranch brothel in La Grange, Texas? In all honesty, it doesn't. At least, not directly. The history and the entertainment are two different things, and apart from broad strokes, are pretty much separate animals. Where this could help me is in raising the public awareness of the Chicken Ranch. As the Broadway production ramps up, more and more folks are going to grow curious about the real story behind the infamous brothel. If the run is successful and the revival earns some Tony Award nominations--maybe even winning a few--then that exposure is multiplied. Anyone with a comprehensive book out on the subject could stand to capitalize on the ensuing publicity quite nicely. At least, that's what I'm telling the editors currently considering my book.

Hollywood Reporter: 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas' Sets Broadway Return in 2015
Variety: ‘Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’ Heads Back to Broadway
Playbill: Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Will Stomp Its Way Back to Broadway, Run by Rob Ashford The Chicken Ranch reopens! The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Will Return to Broadway
USA Today: Rob Ashford to helm new 'Whorehouse' on Broadway
Star Tribune: Revival of sex romp musical 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas' coming to Broadway
Dan Cirucci: 'Whorehouse' On Broadway? Yes, It Opens In 2015!

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