Amateur Whorehouse Production in TX, Scuttled Due to Censorship, Resurfaces June 20

News   Amateur Whorehouse Production in TX, Scuttled Due to Censorship, Resurfaces June 20 A Texas community theatre production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas that fell apart when the board demanded the script be censored, causing a cast revolt, will be reconstituted by the actors who quit the show.

A Texas community theatre production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas that fell apart when the board demanded the script be censored, causing a cast revolt, will be reconstituted by the actors who quit the show.

The Houston Chronicle reported the Conroe, TX, cast and director found a home for the show in a building that used to house All-American Gymnastics and Cheerleading in The Woodlands.

The troupe, formerly performing as part of the community theatre, Crighton Players, now identifies itself as the Montgomery County Theatre Project and has leased the new space. Performances will begin June 20 with a top ticket price of $13.50.

A benefit performance of the show will be presented June 10 at The Alley Theatre as a fundraiser. The story of censorship (the board wanted 27 "g--damns" removed from the script) attracted national attention and earned the support of fellow artists and organizations, such as the Alley in Houston.

Crighton Players, meanwhile, replaced the naughty show with the more benign musical, Pump Boys and Dinettes. Donations for the Whorehouse production can be sent to the Montgomery County Theatre Project, c/o Alley Theatre, 615 Texas Ave., Houston, TX 77002.

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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. Shortly after the walkout, there was talk that 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 in April.

Rather than take out repeated use of the word "g--damn," 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 ended 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 "g--damns." 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