FLASH FRIDAY: THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS Gets Lucky
Today we are kickin' up our heels and toastin' the just announced 2015 Broadway return of country musical THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS.
A Lil Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place
The title says it all! One of the most raucous, naughty and just-plain-fun musicals of the 1970s, the true-life-based THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS is poised to be returning to Broadway next year in a brand new revival helmed by Tony, Emmy and Olivier Award recipient Rob Ashford. Based on a magazine article by Larry L. King and originally staged by master director/choreographer Tommy Tune - just as he was coming into his own as a master theatre artist - WHOREHOUSE exemplified the masterful type of all-out entertainment Tune would continually provide in his time at the very top of the theatrical realm in the 1980s - gripping and relatable subject matter, wildly imaginative choreography, magnificently inventive direction and a whole heck of a lot of razzmatazz, too. One need look no further than WHOREHOUSE to see those soon-to-be trademark hallmarks of a Tommy Tune musical already in copious evidence throughout - complete with a breathtaking, mind-blowing, surefire show-stopping extended musical sequence to get tongues wagging (and, in this case, salivating).
Without a doubt, "The Aggie Song" is one of the most dramatically unexpected and undeniably effective musical numbers staged in the 1970s and that is due almost entirely to the impossibly fun and incredibly dynamic way in which Tune and composer/lyricist Carol Hall set out to musicalize one of the show's central events - the local football team gearing up for a road trip ultimately aimed at attending the titular establishment, aka The Chicken Ranch, following a victorious pigskin win. After all, in Texas, football is king - and, at least in this show, Miss Mona is queen; that is, the owner and overseer of the house of sin itself. While the score is surely packed to the brim with tuneful ditties, it is "The Aggie Song" that leaves the audience with something to truly treasure and remember fondly long after the first act - and the evening itself - has concluded.
Looking back, it should come as no surprise whatsoever that a show titled THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS would court controversy on its way to the Great White Way, and this show went a lot farther than merely courting it. Lest we forget, by the time the show had settled into its run on Broadway - where it would play for more than 1500 performances, beginning in 1978 - the marquee above the 46th St. Theatre simply read, "WHOREHOUSE". With direction by Peter Masterson and Tune along with choreography provided by Tune and collaborator Thommie Walsh, the original production starred Carlin Glynn (Masteron's wife, as it happened), along with Henderson Forsythe, Jay Garner and Pamela Blair, among others. Glynn and Forsythe were awarded Tony Awards for their featured performances, while the enacting of "The Aggie Song" on that year's telecast now remains among the most controversial and amusing musical moments in Tony history - and, for good reason.
Subsequently, WHOREHOUSE found a new Miss Mona in the personage of Alexis Smith, who headlined the national tour, as well as star Broadway replacements Fannie Flagg and Anita Morris. Additionally, the musical was revived at the turn of the millennium in a hit national tour starring an unfortunately injured Ann-Margret, while a 1994 sequel penned by the original authors and directed by Tune - THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE GOES PUBLIC - failed to duplicate the success of the original, running a mere two weeks after opening to disastrous reviews. A big screen edition of the property starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds was a mega-success and became one of the top-grossing films of 1982, as well, while a small-scale West End mounting was staged in 2011.
With this week's news of the return of WHOREHOUSE to Broadway in 2015, we can now rest easy in the knowledge that pretty soon Texas won't be the only place with a whorehouse in it worth a damn.
24 Hours Of Lovin'
So, now, let's take a look at some of the highlights from THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS over the years.
First, see the shocking and comically censored Tony Awards performance of "The Aggie Song".
Next, Dolly Parton leads "Lil Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place" in the hit film.
Now, Charles Durning recreates his spectacular "The Sidestep" live.
See a fan recreate "The Sidestep" at the Texas State Capital building.
Plus, enjoy some hilarious outtakes from the feature film.
Also, hear a Parton-penned extra song written explicitly for the film.
Witness Jennifer Hudson send "24 Hours Of Lovin'" into the stratosphere.
Original ANNIE Andrea McArdle nails "Doatsy Mae" at a recent benefit concert.
View a commercial for the 2000 national tour starring Ann-Margret.
Check out the recent Signature Theatre production in Washington, D.C..
Dee Hoty recreates a WHOREHOUSE GOES PUBLIC stunner.
Patrick Kelly sings another WHOREHOUSE GOES PUBLIC standout.
Lastly, RuPaul covers the classic "Hard Candy Christmas".
As a special bonus, Parton and Carrie Underwood team up for a song made famous by Parton in the film, "I Will Always Love You".
What is the main reason for the lasting appeal of the equal parts down home and dirty THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS in your humble estimation? Furthermore, what is your absolute favorite moment in the earworm-packed score? Also, who would you like to see take on the role of Miss Mona in the 2015 Broadway revival? With WHOREHOUSE on the way back to Broadway, we all can anticipate some good ole rowdy fun come 2015, if not quite in time for Christmas - hard candy, indeed. Or, maybe make that: tumescent.
From This Author Pat Cerasaro