Being a fan of the theater I’m always excited to go see new Las Vegas shows. The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is playing at The Plaza Hotel in Downtown Las Vegas. Here’s our review.
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas appeared on New York’s Broadway stage 34 years ago and is based on the true story of the real life Chicken Ranch brothel in Texas; not to be confused with Pahrump, Nevada’s Chicken Ranch. Just a side note here. Prostitution is NOT legal in Las Vegas, but it is legal in Pahrump. When we heard this Tony award-winning musical was opening my first thought was that it would be a perfect fit for Las Vegas and why didn’t someone think of this sooner? The Plaza theater is an ideal venue for the play. It’s large enough to hold a decent size crowd, has old-school Vegas style seating; tables and booths at ascending levels so there isn’t a bad seat in the house and small enough to keep it feeling cozy.
The girls who played the ladies of ill repute were skilled dancers and performed their routines flawlessly. The young men who played the roles of the local boys who visit Miss Mona’s Chicken Ranch after winning the big game were excellent dancers who wowed the audience with their flexibility and athleticism. The role of Miss Mona was a spot on performance. My favorite character was the trouble causing Melvin P. Thorpe, a crusading TV reporter who spreads the word on television that “Texas has a Whorehouse in it!” Excellent performance. The Chicken Ranch’s maid put on a terrific performance as well.
The roles of the Sheriff, the Texas Governor and Shy, the newest whore to the Chicken Ranch were badly miscast. The actor who played the Sheriff had a decent voice, but was a horrible actor. Shy was lacking in that area as well. The Governor was a disaster. Oh, and by the way, I don’t use any of the actors names because they don’t give you a playbill or even a single piece of written material to acknowledge the actors, dancers, stage or sound people. Rude. In this case it’s probably a blessing. This is an odd but true observation: The actor that played the role of Melvin P. Thorpe was in fact so good that he didn’t fit in. Remember Demi Moore on General Hospital? Same thing.
The sound system sucked. I don’t understand why, in a small theater, the actors wear headsets. Why don’t they just go Broadway style and toss them? At many points during the play headsets weren’t working and honestly that was a good thing. You could hear the lines just fine. It’s sooooo annoying to hear every nasal inhale and exhale. The headsets pickup and distort all kinds of surrounding noise. It completely ruined what should have been a comical scene. The Senator was caught literally with his pants down at the Whorehouse and the mic amplified the rustling of his clothes to the point of distraction. There is a narrator that appears from time to time on stage and again, because of a bad sound system you miss punch lines and lyrics. The same was true of Miss Mona’s big numbers. Obviously, she can carry a tune, but her changes in volume and intensity weren’t translated well over the crappy headsets. Very awkward. The set designs are almost non-existant. This production of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas can be best summed up in one word: CHEAP.
Take My Advice
What ever money you were going to spend on this show would be much better spent on Jersey Boys at the Paris. Absolutely outstanding in every way. For a real bargain, get tickets to an upcoming show at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Now, that’s how Broadway musicals are done right! Some Tony award-winning shows that are scheduled to appear are Memphis, this July and Wicked in August. Just came home from seeing Million Dollar Quartet. It’s my favorite Smith Center production so far. Terrific. Go here to read about ways to save $$$ on tickets for shows in Las Vegas.