Cast members of a community theatre production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas in Conroe, TX, walked away from a planned staging of the work after the director quit following pressure from the troupe's board to excise cuss words from the musical comedy.
The Houston Chronicle reported the Crighton Players board decided to cancel the show when the cast abandoned the production, but there is talk the actors and director David Feranchak may mount the show elsewhere.
"With the publicity we've been getting, it seems like a good idea to do the show," Feranchak told the Houston Chronicle.
Rather than take out repeated use of the word "goddamn," which the amateur theatre's board found objectionable, 32 of 34 performers quit the show, the paper reported.
Productions of licensed scripts can only be changed with the permission of the licensing publisher (in this case, Samuel French) or authors (the 1979 Broadway hit was penned by Larry L. King, Peter Masterson and Carol Hall). A revised national tour of the musical has been touring the country for more than a year with Ann-Marget in the lead of Miss Mona, a sensible madam who runs a Texas brothel where there's "nothin' dirty goin' on." The tour ends May 15.
The musical has aroused outrage since it first appeared in New York City. Billboards and broadcast commercials were considered too racy 25 years ago and have been challenged in some cities in the past year. Songwriter Carol Hall previously told Playbill On-Line she wasn't thrilled when New York City buses were plastered with the slogan "Have Fun at the Whorehouse," during the original run. "I'm embarrassed by that — was then, and I am now," Hall said in 2001. "I had two kids, I wouldn't have wanted to see that at the bus stop."
According to the Chronicle, the director of the community theatre staging said removing profanities from the script would undermine the authors' vision, although he apparently agreed to take out the "F" word and keep the "goddamns." He quit after refusing the board's order to strike the latter word, which is used repeatedly in the script.
The musical is inspired a real-life brothel in Texas, which King wrote about in an article for Playboy.
— By Kenneth Jones