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THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS Kicks Off Signature Theatre's 2012-13 Season, 8/14


Yee-haw! It's time to start two-steppin' and boot-scootin' in the aisles, as Signature Theatre kicks off its 2012/13 season with the Tony Award-winning musical comedy The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, beginning performances on Tuesday, August 14.

Directed by Signature's Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer (Broadway's Follies and Hairspray at Signature), the production will star Helen Hayes Award-winner Sherri L. Edelen as the legendary Miss Mona Stangley, proprietor of the infamous brothel known as The Chicken Ranch. DC favorites Christopher Bloch (Melvin P. Thorpe), Thomas Simpson (Sheriff Earl Dodd), Erin Driscoll (Angel), and Nova Y. Payton (Jewel) headline the impressive cast of twenty-four.

The town of Gilbert, Texas will also be inhabited by Tracy Lynn Olivera, Madeline Botteri, Matt Conner, Dan Manning, Amy McWilliams, Stephen F. Schmidt, Jamie Eacker, Tamara Young, Maria Rizzo, Nora Palka, Nadia Harika, and Brianne Camp. Rounding out the cast, are the Aggie boys played by Stephen Gregory Smith, Gannon O'Brien, Vincent Kempski, Davis Hasty, Benjamin Horen, David Jennings, and Jay Adriel.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas will play at Signature's MAX Theatre from August 14, 2012 through October 7, 2012. Single tickets to the public go on sale July 20th.

"It's no coincidence that Signature is opening its season with this musical gem in the middle of an election year," said Eric Schaeffer. "On top of being wildly funny and very entertaining, the musical addresses such vital ideas as censorship, moral hypocrisy, and media sensationalism. It is very clear that 'Whorehouse' is as relevant today as it was in 1978 – and we've rounded up an amazing cast to bring this famous Texan tale to the Signature stage."

Inspired by real-life events, the political satire features music and lyrics by Carol Hall, and a book by Larry L. King and Peter Masterson. The production, recounting the good times and demise of America's most famous brothel, features an award-winning creative team including Karma Camp (choreographer), Collin Ranney (set designer), Kathleen Geldard (costume designer), Colin K. Bills (lighting designer), and Matt Rowe (sound designer). Gabriel Mangiante is the music director, and will be conducting the country band in the MAX Theatre.

It is the late 1970's – and Miss Mona's pleasant little brothel has been in business and known throughout the great state of Texas for more than a century. When crusading television watchdog Melvin P. Thorpe ogles the whorehouse as his next moral target, Miss Mona, her lovely bevy of girls and Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd must buck the muckraker to keep the ranch open. The musical, winner of two Tony Awards®, features a lively score that includes "Twenty Fans," "Girl, You're A Woman," "Hard Candy Christmas," and the new musical number "A Friend to Me."

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas features book by Larry L. King and Peter Masterson, music and lyrics by Carol Hall.

Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings, with 2pm matinees on Saturdays and Sundays. Single tickets go on sale on July 20th and will be available in person at the Signature Box Office or by calling Ticketmaster at (703) 573-SEAT. Ticket prices start at $40. Student discount tickets are $30 and must be purchased the week of the performance. Signature also offers a "$22 for Tuesdays" special, making available $22 tickets to the first two public Tuesday performances on August 14th and 28th.


Jay Adriel (Ensemble) REGIONAL: CPCC: Guys and Dolls, Legally Blonde, Hairspray, Hello, Dolly!, The Producers, Crazy For You, 42nd Street, Cats, Thoroughly Modern Millie. Children's Theatre of Charlotte: Seussical, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Beauty and The Beast. Actors Theatre: A Chorus Line.

Christopher Bloch (Melvin P. Thorpe) SIGNATURE: Chess, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award), Kiss of the Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, Urinetown (Helen Hayes nomination), Twentieth Century, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. NATIONAL TOUR: The Buddy Holly Story. Ford's: 1776, State of the Union, Meet John Doe, Shenandoah, Big River, Christmas Carol. Arena: Christmas Carol 1941 (Helen Hayes nomination), Damn Yankees, Black No More. Everyman: Art, Uncle Vanya, Jaques Brel…, Light Up the Sky; Olney: Cinderella, Carousel. REGIONAL: Guthrie Theatre, Virginia Stage, ACT (Seattle), Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Indiana Rep., Kennedy Center, Shakespeare Theater, 2012 Lunt Fontanne Fellowship. FILM/TV: "The West Wing," "Butler MN," "Dakota Conflict & Great Northfield Raid" (PBS), "Fast Food Films" (FX), Damascus Road, WCBDC!, Star Wars audio (Lucas Productions).

Madeline Botteri (Shy) SIGNATURE: Sunset Boulevard, Brother Russia (u/s), The Boy Detective Fails (u/s), The Hollow (u/s), Side by Side by Sondheim (u/s), [title of show] (u/s); Cabarets: Lost Songs of Broadway: 1960s, Revenge of the Understudies. DC AREA: Keegan Theatre: 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, A Man of No Importance; Kensington Arts Theatre: Rooms!; Kennedy Center: Page-to-Stage The Greenwood Tree. COLLEGE: Sunday in the Park with George, Nine, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jason Robert Brown Cabaret: Journey.

Brianne Camp (Associate Choreographer/Ensemble) Choreography credits: Signature Theatre: Hairspray (Co-Choreographer), Xanadu (Associate Choreographer); Folger Theatre: Taming of the Shrew; Interlochen: Carousel, Aida; Disney Cruise Line: Aladdin (Associate Choreographer). Assistant Choreographer: Kennedy Center: First You Dream; Ford's Theatre: Parade; Shakespeare Theatre: Boys from Syracuse. Mid-Continent Instruments Flash Mob for Silly Boy Productions (Choreographer). Dancer: Broadway Showstoppers at Avery Fisher Hall/Lincoln Center; Salute to the 1940's and Monster Mash – National Symphony Orchestra/Kennedy Center. Special Events: A Holiday Spectacular choreographed by Maurice Hines. SIGNATURE: Gypsy (Balloon Girl).

Matt Conner (Mayor Rufus/Senator Winwoah) SIGNATURE: Hairspray, Sunset Boulevard, Sweeney Todd, Show Boat, Les Misérables, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Merrily We Roll Along, The Witches of Eastwick, Into the Woods, My Fair Lady, Assassins, Pacific Overtures, A Funny Thing…Forum. COMPOSITIONS: Signature: The Hollow, Nevermore, Partial Eclipse, The Girl from No Man's Land (Incidental music), Crossing (workshop, concert), NightoftheLivingDead (Richmond Shepard Theatre, KAT); GMCW: A Carol Christmas; Creative Cauldron, inc.: Martin: The King of Pizza, Eddie Allan Poe. OTHER: Olney Theatre: West Side Story (Riff); Synetic Theatre: Oscar Wilde's Salome (Page of Herodias); ATW: Naked Boys Singing; Open Circle Theatre: Jesus Christ Superstar (Judas). RECORDINGS: Winter (2010), Snow (2011), Baby Conner (2012) Nocturne (2012).

Erin Driscoll (Angel) SIGNATURE: Brother Russia, Hairspray, [title of show], Sweeney Todd, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Witches of Eastwick, Into the Woods, Assassins (Helen Hayes Award, Best Musical), Urinetown (2006 Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Actress). DC AREA: Ford's Theatre: Parade, A Christmas Carol; Olney Theatre: Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cinderella, Anything Goes; Round House Theatre: A Year with Frog and Toad; Kennedy Center: Regina with Patti LuPone (Alexandra Cover). REGIONAL: Arden Theatre: A Year with Frog and Toad, Candide; John W. Engeman Theatre, Long Island: Jekyll and Hyde. AWARDS: 2006 Roger Sturtevant Award.

Jamie Eacker (Ensemble, Dance Captain) SIGNATURE: Xanadu (Euterpe, dance captain), Hairspray (Tammy), Chess (Ensemble/Assistant Choreographer), Revenge of the Understudies Cabaret. NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL TOUR: The Kennedy Center: The Phantom Tollbooth; Phoenix Entertainment: Grease China). DC AREA: Teatro101: The Wild Party (Queenie); Ford's Theatre: A Christmas Carol; Studio Theatre: Grey Gardens, Jerry Springer: The Opera; Kennedy Center: NSO POPS with Marvin Hamlisch; Washington Savoyards: The Music Man; Olney Theatre: Joseph…, Fiddler On the Roof; Keegan: DMLRR – The Oresteia; Toby's Dinner Theatre: Hairspray, Aida, The Wizard of Oz, George M!, Footloose, Grease; Imagination Stage: Miss Nelson Is Missing. EDUCATION: The American Musical and Dramatic Academy of NYC.

Sherri L. Edelen (Mona Stangley) SIGNATURE: Xanadu, Hairspray, Side by Side by Sondheim, Walter Cronkite is Dead., Sweeney Todd, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award), Urinetown, Elegies (Helen Hayes nomination), Side Show (Helen Hayes Award). DC AREA: Kennedy Center/Sondheim Celebration: Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along; Shakespeare Theatre: Design for Living; Olney Theatre: She Loves Me (Helen Hayes nomination); Rep Stage: Kimberly Akimbo; Round House Theatre: The World Goes 'Round, The Diary of Anne Frank; Arena: Cabaret (Helen Hayes nomination); REGIONAL: NY Fringe Festival: Citizen Ruth; Arden Theatre: Our Town; Caroline, or Change (Barrymore nomination); Philadelphia Theatre Co.: The Light in the Piazza (Barrymore Award), Elegies (Barrymore nomination); Stages St. Louis: The Music Man, Annie Get Your Gun.

Nadia Harika (Ensemble) SIGNATURE: Crossing (Shenandoah Conservatory). FLAT ROCK PLAYHOUSE: Once On This Island, Hairspray. RICHMOND AREA: Rent. SHENANDOAH CONSERVATORY: A Chorus Line, Damn Yankees, The Wild Party, Anything Goes, Anton in Show Business, Peer Gynt.

Davis Hasty (Ensemble) DC AREA: Studio Theatre: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Rock'n'Roll; Arena Stage: Ah, Wilderness!; Adventure Theatre: Charlotte's Web, The Little Engine that Could; Bay Theatre: Becky's New Car; Round House: A Wrinkle in Time; Forum: One Flea Spare. Upcoming appearances at Round House and Theatre J.

Benjamin Horen (Ensemble) SHAKESPEARE THEATRE: The Boys From Syracuse, Cymbeline; THE Studio Theatre 2nd Stage: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Jerry Springer: The Opera; METRO STAGE: Cool Papa's Party, The Stephen Schwartz Project; ADVENTURE THEATRE: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible…; SPOTLIGHT COMMUNICATIONS: Gay: Accept ME If You Love Me.

David Christopher Jennings (Ensemble) SIGNATURE: Brother Russia. DC AREA: Toby's Dinner Theater: All Shook Up, Beauty and the Beast, 42nd Street, AIDA, Joseph…; Olney Theater Center: Anything Goes. REGIONAL: NSMT: Footloose; Ogunquit Playhouse: Hello, Dolly!. TOURS/CRUISES: NETworks: Oklahoma!; Windwood Theatricals: Copacabana; Disney Cruise Line: Hercules the Muse-ical, The Voyage of the Ghost Ship, Disney Dreams, The Golden Mickeys.

Vincent Kempski (Ensemble) DC AREA: OLNEY: Grease, Joseph...Dreamcoat; KEEGAN: Spring Awakening. KENNEDY CENTER: The Greenwood Tree; SAVOYARDS: Pirates of Penzance; CUA: Cabaret.

Dan Manning (CJ Shruggs/Governor) SIGNATURE: 110 in the Shade, Allegro; BROADWAY: Ragtime. OFF-BROADWAY: Lamb's Theatre: Smoke on the Mountain; St. Peters Citicorp: The Majestic Kid. REGIONAL and DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Ragtime; The Golden Age; Ford's Theatre: Big River, 1776; Studio Theatre: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; Round House Theatre: Camille, Murder, Mystery, and a Marriage; Maryland Stage: A Midsummer Night's Dream; Center Stage:The Murder of Isaac; Rep Stage: Lie of the Mind, A Shayna Maidel; Court Theatre (Los Angeles): Ray-Bud (Dramalogue award), Dearly Departed; National Symphony Orchestra: Narrator; Le Histoire du Soldat. Film credits include Gods and Generals, State of Play, Renaissance Man, Memoirs of an Invisible Man, and Marie. TV: "The Wire," "The West Wing" and "X-Files."

Amy McWilliams (Ensemble) SIGNATURE: Brother Russia, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Ensemble), The Happy Time, The Witches of Eastwick, Sex Habits of American Women, Nevermore, Urinetown, Zander's Boat, In the Garden, The Fix, Working, Cabaret. DC AREA: Wooly Mammoth: Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, Maria/Stuart; Round House Theatre: Charming Billy; Forum Theatre: Scorched; Theatre Alliance: Bread of Winter, Ambition Facing West; Theatre J: Shlemiel the First; Kennedy Center: Sondheim Celebration (Sunday in the Park with George, Merrily We Roll Along), Tennessee Williams Revisited (A Streetcar Named Desire, The Glass Menagerie); Ford's Theatre: A Christmas Carol; Grapes of Wrath, Inherit the Wind. Other appearances at Arena Stage, TFA, Charter Theatre, Imagination Stage, Keegan Theatre, American Century Theater, and the Kennedy Center's Family Theater.

Gannon O'Brien (Ensemble) SIGNATURE: Hairspray (Swing); Chess (Swing); Glory Days (Andy u/s). DC AREA: Olney Theatre Center: Grease (Swing); Keegan Theatre: Spring Awakening, A Man of No Importance, 1st Stage: The 3 Bears, Jack and the Beanstalk. REGIONAL: Circle Theatre: Jane Eyre.

Tracy Lynn Olivera (Doatsy Mae) SIGNATURE: Brother Russia, The Hollow, The Boy Detective Fails, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes nomination), Anyone Can Whistle in Concert, ACE, The Happy Time, Merrily We Roll Along (Helen Hayes nomination), Allegro (Helen Hayes nomination), Follies, Side Show; Sweeney Todd; Mack and Mabel in concert, and many concerts and cabarets. BROADWAY: Ragtime (2009 revival). DC AREA: Kennedy Center: Ragtime, Sunday in the Park with George, Passion, Merrily We Roll Along; Shakespeare Theatre: Candide; Ford's Theatre: LiberTy Smith, Meet John Doe, Shenandoah, A Christmas Carol, Songs from the Tall Grass; Folger Theatre: Comedy of Errors; MetroStage: Closer Than Ever, The Last Five Years; Olney Theatre: The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Grease, Carousel (Helen Hayes nomination); Rorschach: company member, Rough Magic, J .B., God of Vengeance. REGIONAL: Studio Theatre: Bachelorette; Goodman: Candide.

Nora Palka (Ensemble) REGIONAL: Keegan Theatre: Spring Awakening; Landless Theatre: Carrie Potter at the New Moon Prom, Perez Hilton Saves the Universe; COLLEGE: CUA: Cabaret, Nine, Thoroughly Modern Millie. EDUCATION: Catholic University, 2012, London Dramatic Academy.

Nova Y. Payton (Jewel) SIGNATURE: Xanadu, Hairspray (Helen Hayes Award). NATIONAL TOUR: 3 Mo' Divas (PBS Special, DVD and CD); Smokey Joe's Café. DC AREA: Washington Savoyards: Ain't Misbehavin' ; H Street Playhouse: Black Nativity; Adventure Theatre: Happy Elf. REGIONAL: Prince Music Theatre: Dreamgirls (Barrymore Nomination, 2005); Flat Rock Playhouse: Smokey Joe's Café.

Maria Rizzo (Ensemble) SIGNATURE: Xanadu (u/s). DC AREA: Olney Theatre Center: You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Grease!; Toby's Dinner Theatre: Cinderella, Cats, Hairspray. REGIONAL: UDPAC of Philadelphia: Thoroughly Modern Millie, Ragtime, Disney's Beauty & the Beast. CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY: Nine, Urinetown, Godspell.

Stephen F. Schmidt (Edsel Mackey/Bandleader/Narrator) SIGNATURE: Urinetown (Helen Hayes Award), A Little Night Music. REGIONAL:Ford's Theatre: One Destiny, 1776, Parade, A Christmas Carol, Shenandoah. Arena Stage: Death of a Salesman, View from the Bridge, Noises Off, Damn Yankees, Guys and Dolls. Center Stage: Arsenic and Old Lace, The Winter's Tale, The Investigation, As You Like It. Kennedy Center: Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, Passion. Helen Hayes Nominations: Willy Wonka (Wonka), Wonderful Life (George), Rocky Horror… (Brad). FILM:J. Edgar, My One and Only, The Invasion, La Bamba. TV: "The Wire," "The District," "Homicide: Life on the Streets." Associate Artist: Ford's Theatre.

Thomas Adrian Simpson (Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd) SIGNATURE: The Boy Detective Fails, The Hollow, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award), The Witches of Eastwick, My Fair Lady, Pacific Overtures, Urinetown, Twentieth Century, 110 in the Shade (Helen Hayes Nomination), Floyd Collins, Grand Hotel, Over and Over, Vera, The Raft of the Medusa, Mack and Mabel. DC AREA: Ford's Theatre: LiberTy Smith, Meet John Doe, A Christmas Carol; Arena Stage: The Light in the Piazza, The Fantasticks; Shakespeare Theatre: Candide, The Boys From Syracuse; Kennedy Center: Regina (with Patti LuPone); Olney Theatre Center: Oh, Coward!, 1776, Oliver; Studio Theatre: Adding Machine, A Musical. REGIONAL: GoodmanTheatre: Candide; Wayside Theatre: Shenandoah, Man of La Mancha; Delaware Theatre Co.: A Murder A Mystery and A Marriage.

Stephen Gregory Smith (Ensemble) SIGNATURE: Brother Russia, Hairspray (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Ensemble), The Boy Detective Fails, Sunset Boulevard, Les Misérables (Helen Hayes Award, Outstanding Ensemble), Kiss of the Spider Woman, Into the Woods, My Fair Lady, Assassins, Pacific Overtures, The Highest Yellow, One Red Flower, Allegro, 110 in the Shade (Helen Hayes Award, 2004), A Funny Thing...Forum, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Grand Hotel, Gypsy. DC AREA: DCAC: High Fidelity; Studio Theatre: Adding Machine: A Musical (SHRDLU); MetroStage: tick, tick…BOOM!; Ford's Theatre: The Civil War, Meet John Doe; Arena Stage: Damn Yankees; Kennedy Center: First You Dream, Regina; Wolf Trap: Street Scene; Olney Theatre Center: The Secret Garden. WRITING: NightoftheLivingDead the musical (Richmond Shepard Theatre, NY, Kensington Arts Theatre, Fall 2012), Edgar Allan Poe Academy (Creative Cauldron, 2011, Riverside Theatre, FL October 2012.)

Tamara Young (Ensemble) REGIONAL: The Wiz, Aida, Hairspray (Little Inez), Seussical: the Musical, Show Boat, West Side Story.

Recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award®, Signature Theatre is a non-profit professional theater company in Arlington, Virginia dedicated to producing contemporary musicals and plays, reinventing classic musicals, and developing new work. Under the leadership of co-founder and Artistic Director Eric Schaeffer and Managing Director Maggie Boland, Signature has presented 38 world premiere productions and is renowned for combining Broadway-quality productions with intimate playing spaces.

In addition to hosting the finest talent from the DC metropolitan area and New York, Signature has been home to such theatre luminaries as Chita Rivera, George Hearn, Hunter Foster, Emily Skinner, Ann Reinking, Marc Kudisch, Judy Kuhn, John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cameron Mackintosh, Terrence McNally, and the company's signature composer, Stephen Sondheim. Since its founding in 1989, Signature has won 77 Helen Hayes Awards for excellence in the Washington, DC region's professional theater and has been honored with 305 nominations.

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