Follow Us on Twitter

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas - Union Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

PAUL Taylor-Mills will direct Sarah Lark in a major new revival of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which runs at the Union Theatre from October 20 (previews from October 18) to Saturday, November 12, 2011.

This multi award-winning Broadway comedy-musical, which has a book by Larry L King and Peter Masterson and music and lyrics by Carol Hall, is based on the true story of legendary Texas brothel, the Chicken Ranch, which operated from the 1840s to 1973.

Having been left to her by the original owner, the Chicken Ranch is under the proprietorship of Miss Mona Stangley. Protected by a friendly Sheriff and frequented by politicians, football teams and others, it thrives in the small town of Gilbert, Texas. However, a crusading do-gooder Houston radio commentator and his conservative audience expose the Chicken Ranch, forcing it to shut its doors forever.

A finalist in BBC1’s I’d Do Anything, Sarah Lark (Miss Mona) understudied Nancy and played the role many times in Oliver! at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Her other West End roles include Lucy in the 21st anniversary production of Snoopy!, The Witches of Eastwick, Beautiful & Damned and Mamma Mia!.

The original Broadway production, directed by Peter Masterson and Tommy Tune, and choreographed by Tune and Thommie Walsh, opened on June 19, 1978 at the 46th Street Theatre and ran for 1,584 performances. It was nominated for six Tonys (winning two) and eight Drama Desk Awards (winning three, including Outstanding Lyrics and Outstanding Music).

A 1982 Hollywood movie version starred Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds and was the most successful movie-musical of the 1980s.

Produced by Antony Stuart-Hicks, Paul Leno, Katy Lipson and Paul Taylor-Mills, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas has choreography by Richard Jones, musical direction by Tom Turner (Thrill Me, Charing Cross Theatre, A Clockwork Orange, Lost Theatre) and lighting by Howard Hudson, who won the 2011 Off West End Award for Best Lighting Design.

Director Paul Taylor-Mills‘ credits include Little Shop of Horrors (White Bear Theatre) which was nominated for four Off West End Awards including Best Director; A Clockwork Orange (Lost Theatre); and the European premiere of My Big Gay Italian Wedding (Above The Stag and C Venues, Edinburgh).

Choreographer Richard Jones‘ theatre credits include Crazy For You and Hello, Dolly! (Regent’s Park Open-Air Theatre); Me and My Girl (Crucible Theatre Sheffield); Sweet Charity (Menier Chocolate Factory and Theatre Royal, Haymarket); Mary Poppins (1st national tour); and We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre).

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Gallery

Tickets: £17 (no concessions) – available from the box office on 020 7261 9876 or online at

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday and Sunday at 2pm.

Bernarda Alba continues at the Union Theatre until September 17, 2011. It’s followed – from September 21 to October 15, 2011 – by The Baker’s Wife.