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The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

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.

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
1981 West End
1982 Broadway
1982 Film
2001 U.S. Tour
2011 London Fringe Revival


It is the late 1970s, and a brothel has been operating outside of fictional Gilbert, Texas (subbing for real locale La Grange) for more than a century. It is under the proprietorship of Miss Mona Stangley, having been left to her by the original owner. While taking care of her girls, she is also on good terms with the local sheriff, Ed Earl Dodd. When crusading television reporter Melvin P. Thorpe (based on real-life Houston news personality Marvin Zindler) decides to make the illegal activity an issue, political ramifications cause the place to be closed down.

Production historyEdit

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas opened on Broadway at the 46th Street Theatre on June 19, 1978, 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,[1] with stops in major cities from Boston to Los Angeles.

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 Glynn and Hall.[2]

The West End production opened at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on February 26, 1981, again starring Glynn and Forsythe. It ran for 204 performances.[3]

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.[4]

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.[5]

A revival production of the musical was staged on London's Fringe at The Union Theatre, October through November 2011, starring Sarah Lark as Miss Mona, Nancy Sullivan as Shy and Leon Craig as Melvin P. Thorpe. Ensemble members included Jarred Page, Sasi Strallen, Katy Streader, Frankie Jenna, Patrick George, Dayle Hodge and Dan O'Brian. The production was directed by Paul Taylor-Mills.

A Broadway revival, with direction and choreography from Rob Ashford, was reportedly in the works in 2015.[6][7]

Song listEdit

Awards and nominationsEdit


  • 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. ^ "Internet Broadway Database: The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas-1979 US Tour Schedule".
  2. ^ "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas 1982 Listing". Archived from the original on 2012-12-02. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  3. ^ "Introduction: A Hundred Years of London Musicals". Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  4. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Nothin' Dirty: Ann-Margret Opens 'Whorehouse' Feb. 13 in CT". Playbill, February 13, 2001[dead link]
  5. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Actors' Fund's 'The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas' Benefit Concert Presented Oct. 16" Playbill, October 16, 2006
  6. ^ Gans, Andrew. "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Will Stomp Its Way Back to Broadway, Run by Rob Ashford". Playbill Club. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
  7. ^ Cox, Gordon (August 7, 2014). "'Best Little Whorehouse in Texas' Heads Back to Broadway". Variety. Retrieved June 8, 2015.


  • 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 linksEdit