NEWS: LIPA dancers open the doors to Texas’ infamous cathouse

Dancers from The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts (LIPA) are taking a high-kicking look at hypocrisy and politics, American-style. The third-year students are staging The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas from the 1-3 November. Set in the 1970s, about a small-town brothel that is at once privately accepted and publicly shunned by politicians.


This slice of Americana is fuelled by a country and gospel music-inspired score and explores what happens when a TV watchdog from the city becomes hell-bent on shutting the popular venue down. Legislators, themselves patrons of the bordello, find they have to denounce or support it as calls for its closure grow louder. 

The show’s director, Michael Howcroft, said: “Politicians still tend to sit on the fence until they know which way the wind of public opinion is blowing. What’s more, then as now, some media outlets can dictate the political agenda by whipping up public hysteria.”

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas was made famous by the screen version starring Dolly Parton and is based on the true story of the Chicken Ranch, a Texas brothel that became an established part of a rural community before an out-of-town TV reporter successfully campaigned for its closure. 

Michael, whose previous credits include resident director of South Pacific at the Barbican in London and associate director of the UK and international tours of the Rocky Horror Show and Spamalot, added: “The Chicken Ranch was a notorious but well-loved brothel which appealed to a pre-Regan American sense of small-town community and looking after your own.

“We want audiences to enjoy the show as a slice of life from the 1970s and to consider the issues it throws up – such as whether prostitution should be legalised – in their historical context. On the surface it’s a fun-packed country musical with line dancing and gospel music, but underneath it has a big heart which is about survival under difficult circumstances, companionship and lost love.” 

The production will include A Friend to Me, a country ballad which lyricist Carol Hall penned for the 2001 new cast recording of the show.

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is being performed at 7:30pm on November 1, 2, 3 2012 in the Paul McCartney Auditorium, LIPA. There is a 2:30pm matinee on Saturday November 3. Tickets are priced at £8 adults/£4 concessions and can be purchased via Unity Theatre Box Office by telephoning 0844 873 2888 or by visiting the events and public performances of


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