Michelle DeJean, Michael Tapley to Lead TUTS' BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS


Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) just announced the cast of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, running June 5 – 17 at the Hobby Center for The Performing Arts. It's all big songs and big hair in this sassy, spirited musical about a real-life brothel in Texas. Based on the "Chicken Ranch", the infamous, long-running house of ill repute, this tongue-in-cheek story chronicles Miss Mona Stangley, a classy yet brassy madam with a heart of gold, as her "business" becomes the center of a media controversy. Thrusting the Chicken Ranch into the spotlight is Melvin P. Thorpe, a loud-mouthed reporter based on Houston's own late Marvin Zindler. Spicing up the story line is a hot-headed, trigger-happy town sheriff, the Texas A&M football team, and Miss Mona's risqué girls. The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas will be a feisty, fun-filled treat that includes favorites such as "A Lil' Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place" and "Hard Candy Christmas".

Leading the show as Miss Mona Stangley is Michelle DeJean. DeJean, a graduate of the TUTS' Humphreys School of Musical Theatre, boasts the recent TUTS credits of White Christmas and Urban Cowboy. DeJean's other theatre highlights include Broadway's Chicago and national tours of Jesus Christ Superstar, West Side Story and Oliver!. Opposite her will be Kevin Cooney as Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd, Miss Mona's love interest. This show will mark Cooney's 20th appearance at TUTS, including most recently Guys and Dolls, White Christmas, and The Sound of Music. He has also appeared on Broadway in The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public. Cooney's other accomplishments include several national tours, film and television appearances.

Starring as the loudmouthed television reporter Melvin P. Thorpe will be Michael Tapley. Tapley's previous worked in Broadway's The Who's Tommy as well as the national tours of Evita, 42nd Street, Mame, The Who's Tommy, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. TUTS' audience members will remember him from shows such as A Wonderful Life, White Christmas, Guys and Dolls and Annie. Playing the role of Jewel, Miss Mona's confidante and housekeeper at the Chicken Ranch, is Tamara Siler. The Wizard of Oz, Little Shop of Horrors, Cinderella, and Chess are the shows that Siler lists as her theatre work at TUTS.

John Holly will play the Texas governor who knows how to "sidestep" anything. Holly will revive his role as the governor from TUTS' 1990 production of The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas. He also has played on Broadway in Grease as well as appeared in several notable theatres across the country. Greg Dulcie will appear in the roles of Mayor Rufus Poindexter as well as Senator Wingwoah. Dulcie has appeared at TUTS in When You Wish, Beauty and the Beast, Brigadoon, and South Pacific.

Jim Bernhard will appear as Edsel Mackey, the newspaper editor with a liberal edge. Bernhard is a renowned Houston arts administrator who has served as the former general manager of Theatre Under The Stars. His TUTS appearances include My Fair Lady, Mame, The Sound of Music and several other shows. Additionally, he has written plays and musicals that have been produced at TUTS, Playwright's Showcase and the Tower Theatre. Bernhard is the editor of Stars In Your Eyes, a pictorial history of TUTS.

Playing the mayor's sidekick C. J. Scruggs will be Mark Laskowski, whom TUTS audience members will remember from A Wonderful Life and 110 In The Shade. No stranger to playing multiple roles, Susan Koozin returns to the TUTS stage to play the role of Doatsey Mae, the wisecracking waitress at the Texas Twinkle Café, as well as the TV reporter. Koozin also appeared in three roles in 2010's Hairspray and is a staple in the Houston theatre scene.

Appearing in the roles of Amber and Shy, two of Miss Mona's most popular girls, will be Julia Krohn and Brooke Wilson. Krohn, a Humphreys School of Musical Theatre graduate, has appeared in the original Las Vegas company of Jersey Boys as well as at TUTS in Anything Goes and Cats. Wilson's most recent TUTS productions include Urban Cowboy, Beauty and the Beast, Cats and Singin' in the Rain.

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