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MNfusion: Cast Makes Lackluster 'Best Little Whorehouse In Texas' Shine

It's a true testament to the talent of a cast that can turn a show that is a dud into something entertaining.

While it's true that most classical musicals don't offer much in the way of social commentary or life lessons, at the very least they provide a love story. Larry King's "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" didn't really provide anything.

However, thanks to a cast full of vivacious actors with strong voices, it was still fun to watch.

Whitney Rhodes gave a show stopping rendition of "Twenty-Four Hours of Lovin'." She played a bold, brassy housemaid, which made her a standout among the large cast of women.

Maisie Twesme's bittersweet rendition of "Doatsy Mae" was enough to make any girl who's never felt pretty enough ache. It also made you wish you could help this waitress turn into a call girl, if it would have made her feel better.

Maybe one of the most entertaining, and suggestive, songs of the entire show was "The Aggie Song." In a show dominated by women, this was the men's time to shine. And shine they did.

Their voices blended nicely and they clearly enjoyed themselves with the macho lyrics and ribald choreography.

If nothing else, choosing this musical showed that no matter what show they choose to perform, the Old Log Theatre is sure to have an extremely talented and dedicated cast.

But despite the energy and emotion given to the songs, the show ended with so many unanswered questions.

What is going to happen to Miss Mona and Ed Earl? The girls? Why did Melvin P. Thorpe focus on the Chicken Ranch instead of other institutions? What happened to Angel's little boy? Did she see him again? Did another Chicken Ranch type place emerge, or was this the first step to cleaning up the state?

There were so many themes and storylines that King could have explored that just went by the wayside. And what is left is an incomplete show.

While it is true that there are many theater productions that aren't exactly progressive in their portrayal of women or other races, often these inadequacies are altered in updated versions or there is some other message to be taken away. Think the song "Ugg-a-Wugg" in "Peter Pan." That song has been changed, or taken out, in recent versions. But its message is that you shouldn't be afraid to befriend people from other cultures. And if it is taken out, it doesn't really matter, as the show itself ultimately shares the struggles of growing up.

There were plenty of directions "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" could go that would offer more of a story, let alone moral message, like exploring why the girls were forced into the life in the first place or how Mona makes a better environment for the girls. It could have even just been about the love story between Mona and Ed Earl. But instead it was a merely a musical about how women were forced into selling themselves because they had no alternatives at a place that was eventually shut down.

It was nothing more than a retelling of an actual event with musical numbers thrown in.

"The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas" is open now through Aug. 29. Tickets range from $16 to $35. For more information, or to purchase tickets, call 952-474-5951 or visit the Old Log Theatre online. The Old Log Theatre is located at 5185 Meadville St. in Greenwood.

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