Edna Milton Chadwell
|The hookers from LaGrange, in the early part|
of the 20th Century. Get a load of those ankles.
|Miss Edna took over ownership in the early 60s.|
|The gals did their duty for the troops, from |
1894-1973. During the World Wars, they
|Zindler sent his team inside, for hard confirmation|
that there was, in fact, prostitution going on.
They said yes.
If you think this sounds like great source material for a musical, you're too late.
|Carlyn Glenn won a Tony playing the madam|
based on Edna Milton Chadwell.
The story became The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, which opened on Broadway in 1978 and ran well over 1000 performances. The show won Tonys for stars Carlyn Glenn, in the role inspired by Edna Milton Chadwell, and Henderson Forsythe, as the sheriff.
|Henderson Forsythe was in the midst of|
a 32-year run on As The World Turns
when he unexpectedly won the Tony as
Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd.
More importantly, the show afforded Tommy Tune his first chance to direct and choreograph a musical (Tommy got his own Dance Party a few weeks ago, when he turned 73). Alexis Smith played Miss Mona (thank god they changed the name from Miss Edna) in the First National Tour (which spent 7 months in Los Angeles), and in 2001, a major revival starring Ann-Margaret, in her theatrical stage debut, took to the road (a cast album of that production is available. A-M sounds pretty good for her age, but I heard in the theatre, she was somnabulent).
|Ann-Margaret's Miss Mona wore gowns by |
Bob Mackie. The high-profile tour spawned a new cast album,
but failed to reach Broadway.
|Parton made a splash in her film debut in 9-5,|
she chose this film as her follow-up.
|Broadway stars Glenn and Forsythe delivered mature, no-nonsense|
yet tender performances.
|For the film, the comedy was played up,|
and the melancholy disappeared.
|Dolly's happy. Her inclusion of "I Will Always|
Love You" put the song back on the charts.
|Theresa Merritt could have handled her character's big|
number, but it was cut.
|WKRP alum Gary Sandy played|
the Sheriff opposite Ann-Margaret;
his rendition of "Good Old Girl" is
|Like Bring Back Birdie|
and Annie Warbucks,
this stage sequel flopped.
|As a casting stunt, |
Miss Edna appeared on Broadway as her
predecessor Miss Jesse.
That same number from the movie is this week's Dance Party.
|Only one black guy on the football team? And in reality,|
he would not have been allowed through the door of the Chicken Ranch,
even in 1973.
|Melvin P. Thorpe and Marvin Zindler both proclaimed|
"Texas has a whorehouse in it."
|Despite his heft, Durning could have had a career in musicals.|
I saw him in Ballroom, waltzing like a pro. His rendition of
"The Sidestep" was the highlight of Whorehouse.
|Jeff Calhoun is now a respected |
stage director/choreographer. We worked together
on a concert reading of Parade several years ago.
The woman who inspired the whole thing, Edna Milton Chadwell, died last week at the age of 84.