PHOTO CALL: First Look at Signature's The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas

News   PHOTO CALL: First Look at Signature's The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas
The ladies and gentlemen populating The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, this summer and fall will include Helen Hayes Award winner Sherri L. Edelen as Miss Mona, who runs the infamous Chicken Ranch brothel, and Thomas Simpson as her love interest Sheriff Earl Dodd.

Signature Theatre artistic director Eric Schaeffer (Broadway's Follies) stages the 1978 musical romp by book writers Larry L. King and Peter Masterson and composer-lyricist Carol Hall. Performances begin Aug. 14 at Signature's MAX Theatre. The run plays to Oct. 7.

Edelen won Helen Hayes Awards for her work in Signature's Les Misérables and Side Show.

Also cast are DC-area favorites Christopher Bloch (as morals advocate/journalist Melvin P. Thorpe), Erin Driscoll (Angel) and Nova Y. Payton (Jewel), plus 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, representing the people of Gilbert, TX.

Here's a look at the pre-production shots.


The buff Aggie boys — Texas football players blowing off steam at the Chicken Ranch — will be played by Stephen Gregory Smith, Gannon O'Brien, Vincent Kempski, Davis Hasty, Benjamin Horen, David Jennings and Jay Adriel.

Single tickets to the public are on sale now.

Schaeffer said in a statement, "It's no coincidence that Signature is opening its season with this musical gem in the middle of an election year. 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 country-flavored political musical satire is also infused with rueful songs about unrealized dreams, choices made, the passage of time and loves lost. "Hard Candy Christmas" is among its standout songs. The production will also incorporate the song "A Friend to Me," which was added when Ann-Margret toured with the show in 2001. At that time, Carol Hall talked to about The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was nominated for 1979 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Choreography (Tommy Tune), Direction (Peter Masterson and Tommy Tune), Book (Kind and Masterson) and the featured performances of Henderson Forsythe (who won) as Sheriff Dodd, Carlin Glynn (who won) as Mona and Joan Ellis as Shy. Hall's score was snubbed in the Tony race, but she won the Drama Desk Awards for Best Music & Lyrics. A film version was later made, interpolating new songs by Dolly Parton, who starred opposite Burt Reynolds.

The Signature creative team includes 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.

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The Signature is the recipient of the 2009 Regional Theatre Tony Award.

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