Best Little Theater Chair at COC

by Jahruba Atkinson, Staff Writer 574 views0

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas tells the story of a little Texas brothel known as the Chicken Ranch ‐‐ so named because, during the Depression, customers were allowed to pay with poultry! This is a happy‐go‐lucky romp centering on the infamous Chicken Ranch.

And now the Chicken Ranch is coming to College of the Canyons. COC theater chair Paul Wickline wrapped up auditions for the production in mid September. It gave Cougar News a good chance to sit down with Wickline and find out his reasons for putting the production together and his personal inspirations.

1). You just wrapped up auditions for “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” How did the auditions go?

We had more than 60 people audition for 30 roles. The directors saw some amazing talent and were thrilled with the number of COC students who auditioned. We have a terrific cast full of COC students and talented community members.

2). I know you were looking for men dancers/ actors and singers any luck on getting enough men to participate in the production?

YES! By the final night of auditions we had plenty to choose from! Unfortunately some of those had scheduling conflicts that made it impossible to cast them, but perhaps next time!

3). Why did you decide to bring “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas ” to COC?

This is a fun show with a timely message about political corruption and hypocrisy. Plus, it’s got a great score, a funny book and terrific characters. This is an under appreciated musical from the 1980’s that should be great fun for audiences.

4). Describe the rehearsal process:

We rehearse for six weeks. The beginning rehearsals are for learning the music, dances and staging of the scenes for all the cast. We then begin to work specific scenes and songs for a variety of reasons. We want the characters to be real people and so we work a great deal on relationships, playing truthfully, etc. We also want the dance numbers to be clean, crisp and sharp. It should look EASY for the cast, but the reality is they have been working for hours to perfect those dance steps and get them perfectly in sync! Then we begin putting everything together in weeks five and six and begin incorporating props, furniture, lighting and sound cues, set pieces, orchestra, etc. It’s a HUGE undertaking!

5). “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” premiered in 1982 and you’re now bringing it to COC in the year 2010. Are you going to stay true to the original or are you going to add some modern flares to it?

The themes are universal and although 1973 (when the events actually took place) is more than a quarter century ago, the script is so well written, no updating is really needed. The production is a trip back in time with authentic 1970’s clothing styles, hair and make-up.

7). Who inspired you to start directing?

Like most directors, I started as an actor and then found an interest in directing. I worked with some very talented directors in college and professionally and gradually found that I really liked to be a part of the creative process of taking a script and shaping a production with the help of a team of designers. I love working with actors and using what they bring to the rehearsal process to help tell the story… and entertain the audience.

8). Describe the production of “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” in one word.

“Foot-stompin Fun!”

9). Tell everyone reading this why they should come out to see the production of “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”

The country western score is delightful and don’t let the title fool you! This musical is cheerfully inoffensive and promises a frolicking good time. Leave the babies at home, but bring the teens, grandmas and simply anyone who finds joy in a foot‐stomping line dance. Contains some mature content. Parental discretion is advised for children under 13.

10). When will the play open? What are the dates?

Performance Dates and Times:

10/15, 10/16, 10/22, and 10/23 @ 8 PM

10/17 and 10/24 @ 2 PM

Tickets: $12/$6

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