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Dominion Stage The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

By • Jan 19th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Dominion Stage
Gunston Arts Center, Arlington, VA
Through January 29th
2:20 with one intermission
$15 General admission
Reviewed January 15, 2011

Deliciously scandalous with great musical numbers, fabulous costumes, and a terrific set, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is a great show with exceptional production values. Director David Moretti had a superb creative team; his production looked great and felt balanced. The show is based on the true story of the “Chicken Ranch,” an infamous “ladies’ boardinghouse” in small-town Texas, and the conservative Watchdog television program that leads a crusade to shut it down.

The “Country Jamboree Band,” led by Michael D’Haviland, was on par with other Dominion productions, and superior to most community theater orchestras I have heard. They felt well-rehearsed and unified. Always in synch and on pitch, D’Haviland’s orchestra kept the show flowing smoothly from one scene to the next.

Miss Mona and Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd reminisce about when they metChoreography, by Ivan Davilla, started out slow, but the pace steadily built up to some energetic ensemble numbers that were real crowd-pleasers. The ensemble had some fancy footwork that was fun to watch. Director David Moretti demonstrated the benefits of the director designing his own set. His design was versatile, creating dimension, fostering movement, and allowing for location changes by the subtle use of props, designed by Helen Bard-Sobola. The set was decorated to emulate the Texas flag and tied together with costumes, creating a sense of visual continuity throughout the show. Lighting design, by Jeffery S. Auerbach, continued the trend of versatility and dimension, effectively adjusting the tone for each scene.

Sheila Miller’s costume design was fantastic. With few exceptions, each actor had no less than three costume changes and every costume was distinctly unique and sometimes very elaborate. Dominion Stage’s production is a feast for the eyes, there is always something new to capture your interest and pacing is never interrupted by costume or scene changes. Great job cast and crew!

The cast was very solid as a whole with very little stand-out talent. It is novel to see a cast that performs as a team without placing too much emphasis on individual actors. Some team leaders include Taurean Maray Barber in the ensemble. Barber was a gem for community theater, distinguishing himself as an experienced dancer and showman. Chris Gillespie (Ed Earl Dodd) gave a superior performance including his solo “Good Old Girl,” sung with sweet sincerity. Rikki Howie (Jewel) was sassy and sexy, carrying the audience away with her rollicking solo “Twenty-Four Hours of Lovin’.”

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is a well-crafted feast for the eyes and ears. The show was one of the most unified, streamlined, and fast-paced shows to grace the stage this season. It does contain adult themes, sexual situations, brief nudity, and gunshot effects, so be advised that this is not a show for children or for the weak of heart. If you’re not easily offended and looking for a show to share with your dinner date, then this is definitely a memorable selection.

Photo Gallery

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Photos by Jarett Baker.

Cast

  • Bandleader: John-Michael D’Haviland
  • Girl #1: Leslie Ann Kehuewa
  • Farmer: Zadoc-Lee Kehuewa
  • Girl #2: Cassandra Walker
  • Shy Hid: Taurean Maray-Barber
  • Girl #3: Laura Fontaine
  • Miss Wullajean: Jim Vincent
  • Girl #5: Jenny Bolam
  • Girl #4: Morgan McGovern
  • Salesman: Billy Cover
  • Slick Dude: Robert King
  • Chorus: Joe Aquilina, Jeremy Austin, Hevin Bowders, Jonathan Cacgle-Mulberg, Peter Halverson, Katie Gentic, Todd Paul, Michael Romano, Melissa Stamps
  • Angel: Sally Kiernan
  • Shy: Erica Wisniewski
  • Jewel: Rikki Howie
  • Mona Stangley: Amy Basha
  • Ginger: Leslie Ann Kehuewa
  • Linda Lou: Laura Fontaine
  • Taddy Jo: Jenny Bolam
  • dawn: Melissa Stamps
  • Beatrice: Morgan McGovern
  • Ruby Rae: Cassandra Walker
  • Young Cowboy: Jeremy Austin
  • TV Announcer: Zadoc-Lee Kehuewa
  • Placard Assistants: Joe Aquilina, Kevin Bowders
  • Melvin P. Thorpe: Michael Kasmir
  • Thorpe Dogettes, Singers, and Strutters: Jeremy Austin, Jenny Bolam, Jonathan Cagle-Mulberg, Bill Cover, Laura Fontaine, Leslie Ann Kekuewa, Robert King, Taurean Maray-Barber, Morgan McGovern, Todd Paul Michael Romano, Melissa Stamps, Cassandra Walker
  • Ed Earl Dodd: Chris Gillespie
  • Cameraman: Bill Cover
  • CJ Scruggs: Peter Halverson
  • Rufus Poindexter: Jim Vincent
  • Doatsey Mae: Katie Gentic
  • Edsel MacKey: Michael Romano
  • Doatsey’s Boys: Joe Aquilina, Jeremy Austin, Kevin Bowders, Taurean Maray-Barber
  • Angelettes: Jenny Bolam, Laura Fontaine,Morgan McGovern, Melissa Stamps
  • “Old Sarge” Aggie Mascot: Todd Paul
  • Chip Brewster: Robert King
  • Imogene Charlene Greene: Melissa Stamps
  • Senator Wingwoah: Zadoc-Lee Kekuewa
  • The Aggies: Joe Aquilina, Jeremy Austin, Kevin Bowders,Taurean Maray-Barber, Jonathan CagleMulberg, Bill Cover, Robert King, Michael Romano
  • Featurer Aggie Dncers: Taurean Maray-Barber, Jonathan Cagle Mulberg
  • Reporter #1: Taurean Maray-Barber
  • Reporter #2: Cassandra Walker
  • Governor’s Aid: Jim Vincent
  • The Governor: Peter Halverson
  • Governor’s Body Guards: Joe Aquilina, Kevin Bowders
  • Street Lady: Katie Gentic
  • Reporter #3: Jeremy Austin
  • Hecklers: Jeremy Austin, Jonathan Cagle-Mulberg, Bill Cover,Robert King, Todd Paul
  • Young Cowboy and Chicken Ranch Girl: Taurean Maray-Barber, Erica Wisniewski

Country Jamboree Band

  • John Michael D’Haviland: Keyboard/Conductor
  • Leah Hocsis: Piano
  • Jim Hofmann: Drums
  • Rick Peralta: Guuitar
  • Chase Maggiano: Fiddle
  • Milo Johnson: Bass
  • Gwyn Jones: Reeds/Woodwinds

Crew

  • Co-Producers: Michele Bell, Patrick M. Doneghy
  • Director: David M. Moretti
  • Music Director: John Michel D’Haviland
  • Choreographer: Ivan Davilla
  • Assistant Choreographer: Haley North
  • Stage Manager: Bob Pierce
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Jim Callery
  • Technical Director: Patrick M. Doneghy
  • Lighting Design: Jeffrey S. Auerbach
  • Sound Design: Keith Bell
  • Associate Sound Designer: Kevin Demine
  • Scenic and Paint Design: David M. Moretti
  • Master Carpenter: Hector Lorenzini
  • Costume Design: Sheila Miller
  • Hair & Makeup Design: Patrick M. Doneghy
  • Properties Design: Helen Bard-Sobola
  • Set Dressing: Preston Dean, Hector Lorenzini
  • Stage Management Intern: Aalla Siddig
  • Set Construction: Bob Bell, DylanConrad, Michael DeBlois, Peter Finkel, Bill Wisniewski, William Rippey
  • Set Painting: Helen Bard-Sobola and her Girl Scouts, David Cera, Patrick Donegghy, David Gonzales, Richard Isaacs, Brian Kane, Robert King, Spencer Lepler, Angelo Mike, Larissa Norris, William D. Parker, Reggie Waters
  • Custom Furniture Upolstery: Bruce Cox
  • Costume Construction: Shawn G. Byers,
  • Lighting Crew: Bob Bell, Ana Losada, Andy Merlo
  • Kaycee Shulman, David Gonzales
  • Sound Crew/Audio Mixeers: Kevin Demine, Drew Moberly
  • Costume crew: Erin Branigan, Shawn G. Byers
  • Hair and Make-up Crew: Kourtney Bass, Ashley Bianco, Carla Jefferies, PJ Mitchell
  • Load In Crew: Joe Aquilina, Jonathan Cagle-Mulberg, Bill Cover, Kevin Demine, Chris Gillespie, Zachary Johns, Angelo Mike, Larissa Norris, Jim Vincent, Erica Wisniewski
  • Auditions: William Parker, David Gonzales
  • Audition Pianist: Elisa Rosman
  • Audition Assistant Choreographer: Akiyo Dunitz
  • Program Design: Leslie Ann Kekuewa
  • Program Printing: Mid Valley Press, Verona, VA

Disclaimer: Dominion Stage provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. Dominion Stage also purchased advertising on the ShowBizradio web site.

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This article can be linked to as: http://washingtondc.showbizradio.com/goto/6088.

is a student of Speech and Communication at Northern Virginia Community College. She has been involved in the performing arts since the age of five when she debuted as the Little Red Hen on an elementary school stage. Her career includes both national and international ensemble performances with semi-professional choirs, various roles in community and college musicals (both onstage and off), as well as co-directing drama camp for Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA.

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  1. […] Just in time for the second weekend of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, Showbiz Radio gave the show an awesome review! Check it out on their website. […]