by Guy Chapman
When it comes to musical productions in Las Vegas, one usually has to look to either the Strip, or the newly opened Smith Center. However, show-savvy patrons might be surprised and pleased to know that there is a fun-filled and rollicking production down on the infamous Fremont Street Experience, deep in the heart of the Plaza Showroom.
?The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas?, based on the book by Larry L. King and Peter Masterson (and of course, with nods to the 1982 Burt Reynolds and Dolly Parton film of the same name), is set deep within the small town of Gilbert, Texas where the ?The Chicken Ranch? proprietor, Miss Mona (played by Jacquelyn Holland Wright) runs a tight, but clean ship that?s favored by locals and law officials alike. Among those loyal to the Ranch is the town?s sheriff, Ed Earl (Ron Smith). When the loud spoken television evangelist and ?moral watchdog? Melvin P. Thorpe (Quentin Walters) makes the Ranch his next targeted crusade, hijinks ensue and lines are drawn in a race to see if the doors of this famous locale will be able to remain open after the next election.
The music and overall presentation of the performance are well done in the space of this small venue. But in this case, the small theater provides an advantage, as it allows the performers a chance to interact with the audience, and have fun with some of those ?eager to please the masses (read: voters and television audiences)? moments.
While the leads maintain an enjoyable cast of lively characters, the supporting cast also adds to the overall atmosphere. From the girls who provide their special kind of ?customer service? at the Chicken Ranch, to the state?s politicians who reveal more than just a passing familiarity with the constituents that they heartily protest against, the dialogue and interactions between both sides provide a slightly subversive, but very playful sense of humor.
Featuring a clever soundtrack by Carol Hall, the song and dance performances are frequent and keep the production moving along at a lively pace, allowing the actors to really showcase their talents.
While the productions on the Strip are well-equipped to provide spectacle, and big special-effects laden wonders, ?The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? chooses to provide more than a fair bit of heart instead, focusing on humor, song, and a few knowingly nudging references to Vegas during the show (Las Vegas isn?t referred to as ?Sin City? for nothing, after all).
?The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas? provides an enjoyable excuse for a ?date night?, and a chance to see the newly refurbished Plaza Hotel and Casino. The experience will give show-goers a chance to step away from the Las Vegas Strip and see some of the excellent talents just beyond the regular Vegas experience.