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THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS was originally produced at the Actors' Studio, New York, on October 20, 1977.

THE BEST LITTLE WHOREHOUSE IN TEXAS tells the story of a little Texas brothel known as the Chicken Ranch--so named because, during the Depression, customers were allowed to pay with poultry! As the story begins, two new girls have just arrived at the Chicken Ranch looking for employment. One of the girls is obviously an experienced street whore, the other has come straight from the farm where she was molested by her father. Miss Mona, the proprietor of the Chicken Ranch and a former prostitute herself, immediately sizes up both girls. She allows both girls to stay, but gives the first girl a quick makeover, forcing her to remove her tarty blonde wig and sunglasses and change her name to "Angel."

Meanwhile, Melvin P. Thorpe, a television commentator, is about to go on the air with "Nemisis", a watchdog program that is supposedly committed to exposing social and commercial abuse, but in reality is only a front for giving Melvin himself exposure so that he can bathe in the limelight. The previous week, Melvin had scored a big hit by proving that a certain peanut bar contained fewer peanuts than advertised. This week, he has his sights set on the Chicken Ranch. With all the glitz and cheesy showmanship of a bad Broadway musical, Melvin proclaims to his audience the surprising revelation that "Texas Has Whorehouse in It." He declares that this evil must be brought to an end and calls on the local sheriff to shut the Chicken Ranch down. Back at the Chicken Ranch, however, things continue as normal. Angel is settling into her new job and, during a break, takes a moment to call her mama who is looking after Angel's little boy. Miss Mona is preparing for a big rush of business. There is a big football match scheduled, and the prize for the winning team is an evening at the Chicken Ranch. She wants to create a special Homecoming Dance atmosphere for the occasion, so she is dressing all the girls in 1950s style ball gowns (equipped, of course, with Velcro for easy removal!)

The local sheriff, Ed Earl Dodd, an old friend of Miss Mona's, decides to pay her a visit. He informs her of the local crusader's efforts to shut down her establishment, but Miss Mona laughs it off. There have been moral crusaders before, but the Chicken Ranch has always survived. The Sheriff is uneasy, however, as these previous crusaders have never had the power of television to back them up. Ed Earl's apprehension proves well founded. He soon finds Melvin setting up his cameras on the main street of Gilbert in preparation for continuing his attack on the little brothel. The Sheriff hits Melvin with a bylaw, forcing him to pack up his cameras and move out. He gives the television crusader an earful as well, using language which is, to say the least, not very polite. He has unwittingly played into Melvin's hands, however; the sheriff's performance has been caught on Melvin's television cameras and is almost immediately relayed to Melvin's decidedly conservative Texas audience. In spite of this, Ed Earl is unrepentant and swears he would do the same thing if "that sawed-off little shit" came around again.

Although the citizens of Gilbert are beginning to grow a little nervous at all this publicity, life goes on. Preparation for the football match continues, and the players have nothing on their minds but Senator Wingwoah's promise to the victors of a night out at Miss Mona's establishment (even though the senator had spent the night before on KTEX-TV denouncing such establishments--one of those little political necessities.) But the boys' night of pleasure isn't destined to go quite as well as they had hoped. The Sheriff is in the kitchen of the Chicken Ranch, having coffee with Miss Mona, when all hell breaks loose. Melvin and a whole cavalcade of men with cameras suddenly break into the brothel and begin snapping pictures, and chaos soon wins the day.

Although the Governor of Texas is a master of "The Side Step," he can't silence the moral majority that Melvin P. Thorpe has galvanized into action, and is soon obliged to admit that the legendary Texas brothel must be shut down. When the call comes from the governor, it is Ed Earl who must deliver the news to Miss Mona. The girls begin packing their suitcases. Angel makes up her mind to move back home and get a normal job so that she can be with her young son. Miss Mona, however, is not so sure what her next move is. She has never forgotten a night she spent with Sherif Ed on the evening of Kennedy's inaugeration. She wouldn't call it love, but it was a special night for her, and she would like very much for things to be like they were that night. She asks Ed Earl if he remembers what he was doing the night of Kennedy's inaugeration, but he says he has forgotten.

Miss Mona takes a long, hard look at her life, and as all of her girls march off with their suitcases, she sings "The Bus from Amarillo." Then, knowing that somewhere nearby the Governor is presenting Melvin P. Thorpe a plaque in honor of his services to the state of Texas, Miss Mona gathers up her own belongings and steps out into the world, prepared to start a new life for herself.

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This synopsis was written by J. Crabb and was originally published in this website on April 1, 2002.


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