Western Oregon University Theatre Department to Present “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”

Three actresses in Best Little Whorehouse in TexasDoatsey Mae (Dorian Parker), Miss Mona (Lindsay Spear) and Angel (Cati Rangel) all work at the Chicken Ranch in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

Western Oregon University’s Theatre Department will be presenting the classic musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas on March 1-4 and March 7-10.

The musical, first performed on Broadway in 1978, is based on a book of the same name by Larry King and Peter Masterson. Much of the music and lyrics, created by Carol Hall, were considered racy, but that didn’t prevent the musical from garnering several Tony Award nominations – and two wins — in 1979. The Best Little Whorehouse was made into a movie starring Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds in 1982.

The WOU production features a large cast of about 25 students and is directed and choreographed by Theatre Professor Sharon Oberst. Assistant Professor Ted de Chatelet worked as the dialect coach, and Solveig Holmquist is the music director.

“In addition to being funny and entertaining, this musical addresses themes that are relevant today, namely moral and political hypocrisy and media sensationalism,” Oberst said. “Other themes in the show are touching, personal and very human about unrealized dreams, choices made, the passage of time and loves lost.”

The madam of the Chicken Ranch brothel, Miss Mona, will be played by Lindsay Spear (Portland). Gabriel Elmore will portray Sheriff Dodd (Salem). Nearly every cast member fills multiple roles, with one male student playing a total of six characters.

“The theatre, music and dance students at WOU are well-trained, and this show allows them to demonstrate their skills in acting, singing and dancing,” Oberst said. “Although there are terrific lead roles in this musical, this is an ensemble show that relies heavily on the strength of every member of the cast.”

The themes and language in the musical are suited for a mature audience. Performances will be 7:30 p.m. March 1-3 and 7-10. A 2 p.m. matinee will be March 4. Tickets are $14, $10 for seniors and $8 for students with ID. They are available in person, by phone at 503-838-8462 or by email at boxoffice@wou.edu. The Friday performances will feature American Sign Language interpretation.

Two actors in the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Doatsey Mae (Dorian Parker) explains things to Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd (Gabriel Elmore) in “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.” The Western Oregon University Theatre Department will present the musical March 1-4 and 7-10.

Student (Hometown) – Part(s)

Hunter Atkin (Salem) – Farmer, Dogette, Aggie
Seraphim Benoist (Honokaa, Hawaii) – Girl 1, Dawn, Angelette
Becca Blain – Girl 2, Beatrice, Melvin P. Thorpe singer, townsperson
Madeline Brockman (Canby) – Shy
John Bryant (Salem) – Cowboy, townsperson, Aggie, Governor
Lawrence Dannen (Hood River) – Shy kid, Mayor Rufus Poindexter, Aggie, Reporter, Heckler
Gabriel Elmore (Salem) – Choir male 2, Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd
Derian Hallberg (Centennial, Colo.) – Melvin’s assistant, Melvin P. Thorpe photographer, Governor’s aide, Heckler
Nick Hulscher (Battle Ground, Wash.) – Choir male 1, Melvin P. Thorpe
D.J. Luna (Eugene) – Slick dude, Sen. Wingwoah
Tyler Martin – Cowboy, Young cowboy, Dogette, Aggie
Tawnie McAlister (Gladstone) – Girl 3, Linda Lou, Melvin P. Thorpe singer, townsperson
Althea Murin – Girl 4, Ruby Rae, townsperson
Dorian Parker (San Diego, Calif.) – Choir female 1, Melvin P. Thorpe singer, Doatsey Mae
Jessica Peterson (Salem) – Choir female 4, Jewel
Matthew Ramage (Oregon City) – Bandleader, Dogette, Aggie
Cati Rangel (Dallas) – Angel, Angelette
Jenna Reed (Happy Valley) – Choir female 2, Durla, Melvin P. Thorpe singer
A.J. Saddler (Tigard) – Cowboy, C.J. Scruggs, Aggie, Reporter, Heckler
Chynna Shurts (Portland) – Girl 5, Taddy Jo, Melvin P. Thorpe singer, Imogene Charlene
Ethan Sniezak – Cowboy, Camera man, Chip Brewster, Melvin P. Thorpe photographer, Reporter, Heckler
Lindsay Spear (Portland) – Miss Mona Strangely
Zach Stearns (Salem) – Cowboy, Edsel Mackey, Aggie
Phoebe Thompson (Bend) – Miss Wulla Jean, Eloise, Angelette
Lexie Warner (Felton, Calif.) – Choir female 3, Ginger, Melvin P. Thorpe singer
Brandon Watkins (Portland) – Traveling salesman, Dogette, Aggie

Sharon Oberst, director and choreographer
Ted de Chatelet, dialect coach
Solveig Holmquist, music director