April 1, 2002
Racy and raunchy 'Whorehouse' gets new life with Ann-Margret
by Deborah Stone
Arts and Entertainment
Legendary film and television actress Ann-Margret recently made her theatrical debut in a new production of the Broadway musical-comedy smash, "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," at The Paramount Theatre.
In the role of tough-loving brothel madam, Miss Mona, Ann-Margret has found the perfect stage vehicle for her acting and singing talents. It is a match made in heaven and one that gives this show a necessary touch of class amid its raucous and racy plot.
"Best Little Whorehouse" is based on true events surrounding the Chicken Ranch brothel and its eventual closure in the early 1970s, due to a puritanical TV reporter's investigations and his subsequent demands that state politicians shut the place down.
The show is a definite crowd-pleaser with its country-drenched score, naughty humor and thorough dose of social satire. Ann-Margret glides her way across the stage, exuding sex and sophistication, while using her famous throaty voice to purr bits of wisdom to her "girls."
She is supported by a talented and exuberant cast, which includes Gary Sandy (of TV show "WKRP in Cincinnati" fame), as the foul-mouthed, red-necked Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd,
Avery Sommers as Mona's all-knowing, good friend Jewel, Ed Dixon, as the side-stepping, tune-crooning Governor and Rob Donohoe in the role of Melvin P. Thorpe, the moralizing TV reporter who will stop at nothing in his quest for the Chicken Ranch's closure.
The rest of the cast belts out their numbers with gusto and hoofs their hearts out in high octane numbers, choreographed by director-choreographer Thommie Walsh.
"Best Little Whorehouse" takes audiences on a nonstop ride through one hilarious, and at times, rather raunchy, scene after another.
The laughs are big because the messages regarding political hypocrisy and moral grandstanding can easily be applied to today, despite the fact that the events of the actual Chicken Ranch occurred years ago.
Next up at the Paramount is "Riverdance," opening April 2. For ticket information, all (206) 292-ARTS.