By KEENAN CARVER
Brevard Culture Theatre Critic
When looking for musicals to see on a typical weekend, not many titles catch your eye like “THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS” by Carol Hall, Larry L. King, and Peter Masterson. Just as the name alludes, Director Bryan Bergeron gives the audience a fun exploration in the world of women with a particular vocation, playing now at Surfside Playhouse.
Shy (Katie McCall) and Angel (Nancy Matican-Bock) arrive at Chicken Ranch, an illegal yet tolerated brothel in the fictional Gilbert, Texas, seeking employment in the illicit activity that goes on there. McCall and Matican-Bock’s characters bring a bit of humanity to the show, where without them, and their woeful story arc, the show would lack heart.
Shy and Angel confide in the fabulous Miss Mona (Karen Monks), who takes charge of them, just in time for the Texas Aggies football game. In the standout number “Girl, You’re a Woman,” Miss Mona and her ensemble of attractive workers teach the newcomers, particularly Shy, the ways of feminine prowess.
Miss Mona is well connected and respected in the community, many thanks to her Sheriff beau Ed Earl Dodd (John Kurowski), with whom she shares touching, nostalgic moments. Some prominent business and political leaders are involved too, like the Governor (Rod Hagen) and Senator Wingwoah (Gordon Ringer).
Things are as they are, and as they should be at Chicken Ranch, that is until Melvin P. Thorpe (Chris Tsocanos), a TV reporter and all around do-gooder, sets out to shut down the establishment, as many have tried before him.
His exposés usually do very little to cause Sheriff Dodd to take action, and when Melvin visits the ranch, the sheriff runs him off using less than kind words.
It isn’t until Melvin raids the place with his camera crew on the night the football players are in town, that the future begins to look shaky for the Chicken Ranch.
The cast has fun with the show and is complemented with great supporting actors like the funny C.J. Scruggs (David Hill) and the charming Narrator (Anthony DeTrano).
The show even highlights their ensemble members with solo numbers; such is the case with Doatsy Mae (Donna Furfaro) in her self-titled number “Doatsy Mae,” and Jewel (Jody Hatcher) who sings “Twenty Four Hours of Lovin.”The set and costumes by the scenic crew and Jennifer Frandsen respectively are appropriate for Texas in the fall of 1973. Saloon styles, big buckles, big hair, and boots aren’t amiss in this production, especially in the styling of Monks as Miss Mona. With her many, all-wonderful, bedazzled and sparkly outfits. Monks’ costume gives Dolly Parton, who was Miss Mona in the film adaption, a run for her money.
A production dripping of regional charm, this musical is fun and lively. Though there is a fair share of crass humor, the title may suggest a more lewd show than it truly portrays, so don’t let that be a deterrent to get your seat at “THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS.”
SIDE O’ GRITS: “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” runs through March 17 at Surfside Playhouse, 301 Ramp Road (5th Street South), Cocoa Beach. Tickets are $25 general and $22 for students, military and seniors. A $1.75 service fee may be assessed per ticket. Call 321- 783-3127, visit SurfsidePlayers.com or click on their ad.