The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

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The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Original cast album
MusicCarol Hall
LyricsCarol Hall
BookLarry L. King
Peter Masterson
BasisStory by Larry L. King
Productions1978 Broadway
1980 U.S. Tour
1980 Sydney
1981 West End
1982 Broadway
1982 Film
2001 U.S. Tour
2011 London Fringe Revival

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is a musical with a book by Texas author Larry L. King and Peter Masterson and music and lyrics by Carol Hall. It is based on a story by King that was inspired by the real-life Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas.

Production history[edit]

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas opened off-Broadway at the Entermedia Theatre on April 17, 1978.[1] It reopened on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre on June 19, 1978,[2] and ran for 1,584 performances. The production was directed by Peter Masterson and Tommy Tune and choreographed by Tune and Thommie Walsh. The opening cast included Carlin Glynn, Henderson Forsythe, Jay Garner, Joan Ellis, Delores Hall, and Pamela Blair. Glynn was replaced by Fannie Flagg and Anita Morris later in the run. Alexis Smith starred as Miss Mona in the first U.S. National Tour, September 1979 through February 1981,[3] with stops in major cities from Boston to Los Angeles.

The Sydney production opened at Her Majesty's Theatre on 13 September 1980. Produced by J. C. Williamson Ltd, it starred Lorraine Bayly as Miss Mona and Alfred Sandor as Sherriff Ed Earl Dodd, with Mona Richardson as Jewel, Judi Connelli as Doatsy Mae and Peter Whitford as the Governor.[4]

The West End production opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on February 26, 1981. Produced by Bernard Delfont, it again starred Carlin Glynn and Henderson Forsythe, with Miquel Brown as Jewel and Betsy Brantley as Angel. It included Sally Ann Triplett and Robert Meadmore and ran for 204 performances.[5]

A "summer stock" production that toured the northeastern U.S. in 1982 starred Barbara Eden, William Hardy and Jay Garner.[6]

In what was described as "a return engagement", the show opened on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre on May 31, 1982, and closed on July 24, 1982, after nine previews and 63 performances. The cast featured Carlin Glynn and Delores Hall.[7]

A short-lived sequel entitled The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public was staged on Broadway in 1994.

"The Aggie Song" was performed on the Tony Awards broadcast, but was heavily censored because of the nature of the lyrics and choreography.

A U.S. National Tour starring Ann-Margret opened on February 14, 2001.[8]

A benefit concert took place on October 16, 2006, to benefit the Actor's Fund. The concert was directed by Mark S. Hoebee and choreographed by Denis Jones. The cast included Terrence Mann (as Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd), Emily Skinner, and Jennifer Hudson.[9]


It is the late 1970s, and a brothel has been operating outside of fictional Gilbert, Texas (based on La Grange) for more than a century. It is currently under the proprietorship of Miss Mona Stangley, who inherited it from original owner Miss Wulla Jean. While caring for her girls, she is also on good terms with local sheriff Ed Earl Dodd, and donates to the greater community. When crusading television reporter Melvin P. Thorpe (based on real-life Houston news personality Marvin Zindler) decides to publicize the illegal activity, the ensuing political ramifications eventually cause the business to be closed down.

Principal casts[edit]

Major casts
Character Broadway (1978)[10] Film (1982) Tour (2001)[11] The Actors' Fund (2006)[12]
Mona Stangley Carlin Glynn Dolly Parton Ann-Margret Emily Skinner
Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd Henderson Forsythe Burt Reynolds Gary Sandy Terrence Mann
Jewel Delores Hall Theresa Merritt Avery Sommers Jennifer Hudson
Melvin P. Thorpe Clinton Allmon Dom DeLuise Rob Donohoe Bob Martin
The Governor of Texas Jay Garner Charles Durning Ed Dixon Harry Groener
C.J. Scruggs Barry Corbin Bob Amaral
Chip Brewster Barrett Foa
Rio Grande Bandleader/Deputy Fred Wilkins Craig Chambers Jim Nabors Hal Davis Christian Hoff
Doatsy Mae/Dulcie Mae Susan Mansur Lois Nettleton Roxie Lucas Andrea McArdle
Angelette Imogene Charlene Lisa Brown Sharon Wheatley
Linda Lou Donna King Erin Malloy Jennifer Cody
Ruby Rae Becky Gelke Gina Milo Rachelle Rak
Beatrice Jan Merchant Kristin Reitter J. Elaine Marcos
Eloise Marta Sanders Jennifer Evans Michelle Kittrell
Dawn Lisa Brown Mary Bond Davis Roxane Barlow
Taddy Jo Carol Chambers Terri Treas Tracy Jai Edwards Amber Efé
Durla Debra Zalkind Quisha Freeman Christina Marie Norrup
Ginger Louise Quick-Brown Jane Labanz Angie Schworer
Shy Joan Ellis Andrea Pike Jen Celene Little Mary Faber
Amber/Angel Pamela Blair Valerie Leigh Bixler Terri Dixon Felicia Finley
Mayor Rufus Poindexter J. Frank Lucas Raleigh Bond Matt Landers Richard Poe
Senator Wingwoah Robert Mandan Richard Kind

Song list[edit]

"The Bus from Amarillo" was moved to the final scene, sometime late in the run of the original production and has generally played that way ever since.

was added in the 2001 production.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Original Broadway production[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result
1979 Tony Award Best Musical Nominated
Best Book of a Musical Larry L. King and Peter Masterson Nominated
Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical Henderson Forsythe Won
Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical Carlin Glynn Won
Joan Ellis Nominated
Best Direction of a Musical Peter Masterson and Tommy Tune Nominated
Best Choreography Tommy Tune and Thommie Walsh Nominated
Drama Desk Award Outstanding Musical Nominated
Outstanding Actor in a Musical Henderson Forsythe Nominated
Outstanding Actress in a Musical Carlin Glynn Nominated
Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical Pamela Blair Nominated
Outstanding Director of a Musical Peter Masterson and Tommy Tune Won
Outstanding Choreography Tommy Tune and Thommie Walsh Nominated
Outstanding Lyrics Carol Hall Won
Outstanding Music Won
Theatre World Award Carlin Glynn Won


  • The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas: original cast. LP with gatefold jacket. MCA, 1978. MCA-3049. Cassette as MCAC-3049.
  • The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas: original cast. Audio CD. MCA, 1997. MCAD-11683; MCA-3049.
  • Best Little Whorehouse in Texas: New cast recording. Audio CD. Fynsworth Alley/Varèse Sarabande, 2001. 302 062 117 2.


  1. ^ Eder, Richard (1978-04-18). "Play: 'Best Little House in Texas'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-04-18.
  2. ^ "'Whorehouse' moving uptown". Daily News. 1978-06-08. p. 315. Retrieved 2022-04-18.
  3. ^ "Internet Broadway Database: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas-1979 US Tour Schedule".
  4. ^ "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  5. ^ "Introduction: A Hundred Years of London Musicals". Retrieved 2020-05-13.
  6. ^ "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at Valley Forge Music Fair and others 1982".
  7. ^ "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas 1982 Listing". Archived from the original on 2012-12-02. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  8. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Nothin' Dirty: Ann-Margret Opens 'Whorehouse' Feb. 13 in CT". Playbill, February 13, 2001[dead link]
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Actors' Fund's 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas' Benefit Concert Presented Oct. 16" Playbill, October 16, 2006
  10. ^ "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas – Broadway Musical – Original | IBDB".
  11. ^ "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas – Broadway Musical – 2001-2002 Tour | IBDB".
  12. ^ "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas – Broadway Special – 2006 Revival IBDB".


  • Hall, Carol. Vocal selections from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Melville, N.Y.: MCA Music, 1979.
  • King, Larry L., and Masterson, Peter. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Music and lyrics by Carol Hall. French's Musical Library. New York, N.Y.: S. French, 1978. ISBN 0-573-68111-2.
  • King, Larry L. The Whorehouse Papers. New York: Viking Press, 1982. ISBN 0-670-15919-0.

External links[edit]