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Entertainment: Music / Theatre

posted 09/07/2008

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Louie San Luis
is proud to make his debut at the Lake Worth Playhouse. Louie hails from the Philippines bringing his talent and training in music. He is proud to be an ambassador of goodwill for his fellow Filipinos and dedicate his performance to his family and friends


A rowdy good time is what most prospective audience member expects when going to see a show called “The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas.” - And that is more than likely what they will get.

Lake Worth Playhouse, the venerable Palm Beach County landmark fifty-five years young, brings the bawdy, brassy musical to life in a foot stomping, toe tapping, hand clapping mix of song and dance numbers that is bound to remain in audiences’ memories long after the last “Yeehaw” is proclaimed. 

The story begins with a tale of the beginnings of the famous “Chicken Ranch” of Texas, from its humble beginnings through its bodacious growing pains, to the funny incident that gave the brothel its namesake. The tale is weaved through by a live band, smartfully situated in the center of the stage, yet leaving most of the action unencumbered.

The play centers on Mona (played by Cindy Goldberg), the saucy former “working girl’ who inherited the Chicken Ranch and takes care of a bevy of lovely ladies from different walks of life. Also in this tale is Sheriff Ed Earl (Michael Degrotta) the well-meaning, yet foul-mouthed law enforcer of the small town, who shares a history and affinity with Mona and the Chicken Ranch.

Conflict begins when a prying investigative television show hosted by the flamboyant Melvin P. Thorpe (played with relish by Tom Cooch) sets its watchdog eyes on Mona’s Chicken Ranch, in a crusade of morality to close it down permanently. 
Louie San Luis


Think Moral Majority meets the paparazzi. Enlisting the help of town politicians from the mayor to the senator and ultimately the governor, Melvin Thorpe shines a spotlight on the shenanigans that go on within the walls of the Chicken Ranch, involving Mona’s ladies and the prized Aggie Football Team.

Though lighthearted in its production, the material scratches the deeper levels of human fancies and folly, spoken in dance and song through characters that seem less stereotypical and more symbolic.

Louie San Luis

Goldberg and Degrotta play Mona and Ed Earl with gusto and gumption. Goldberg is in particularly fine voice during Act Two. What seems to be lacking is those subtle sparks of sexual chemistry between them when they interact with each other, which would make it easier for the audience to accept their romantic past.

Standouts of the Lake Worth Playhouse production includes Nina Vincent as Jewel, the Chicken Ranch’s caretaker; Angel Wrona as Angel, one of Mona’s new “hires” and the subtly, hilarious John Costanzo as the Governor, whose soft shoe seemingly stops the show.

Basta Pinoy News readers should take special note that one of our own, Louie San Luis, plays several roles in this production. His dedication to his craft as well as his effervescent energy brings a refreshing hue to the cast’s palette of diversity. He plays an actual Filipino as an Aggie football player, and, if you listen closely at the climax of the end of the first act, you may just hear him blurt out familiar words in our vernacular.

Even though the Lake Worth Playhouse is considered “community theatre,” director Jodie Dixon-Mears strives to present a production comparable to its professional siblings, amid limitations in budgets and production values. Sounds and technical glitches during the performance I watched in the beginning were quickly corrected. And the cast and crew made the most of the set design and costumes provided – and it’s clear that they were really having fun onstage.

If there’s any particular criticism that I would be able to say about the production is that I wished there was more emphasis and show time devoted to the dance numbers. The audience reacted most favorably when there was some rug-cutting happening. I wished there was more of that going on.

Nevertheless, with an eclectic, endearing cast of characters played with relish by an equally entertaining, eager group of performers (30 in all) – this revival of the “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” is sure to please.

Note: Contains themes and language that may not be suitable for young children.

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