The Sharon Playhouse is where TriArts has been presenting musicals since 1999. It is a barn, albeit a large, air-conditioned (bring a sweater) barn. The box office is right inside the entrance and offers three levels of ticket prices. It took me an hour and forty minutes to get there via Route 7, but only an hour to get home through Litchfield thanks to my spotty GPS.
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is a lot of fun, despite the subject matter. A few of the songs by Carol Hall are humable and all of them were preformed beautifully. Some of the staging was a bit racy (although it could have been worse) and there was definitely some adult language. The skimpiest costumes were still in good taste. Probably not a show for children, but a good time for the rest of y'all.
I expected a lot from Broadway veteran Adinah Alexander whose name appeared above the title, and she did not disappoint. This actress was a member of the original cast of Wicked (at the same time that the actress with the similar first name Idina Menzel played "Elphaba") as a swing and the understudy for Carole Shelly as Miss Morrible, as well as numerous other Broadway, Off Broadway and television roles. Here she plays the lead role of the likeable "Miss Mona" to the hilt. She walks, talks and sings as the tough southern lady that runs the Chicken Ranch should, all while carrying off the flashy costumes designed by Michelle Eden Humphrey.
I enjoyed the chemistry between Ms. Alexander and the "Sheriff Ed Earl Dodd" played by Travis Mitchell. Mr. Mitchell is spending the summer at TriArts and has credits that include the National Tour of Spring Awakening, Off Broadway and television roles. In this show he is a charming (if foul- mouthed) romantic lead. I saw this good-looking actor walking across the parking lot before I found the box office; too bad I did yet have my program.
The lovely Meggan Utech (who last season made her debut as "Joanne" in Rent) is excellent as "Jewel." She is radiant in her white dress in "Twenty-Four Hours of Lovin'." Ashley Sweetman played sassy waitress "Doatsey Mae" and did a great job with her self-titled solo. Tim Shea sports a Mozart wig to play the annoying "Melvin P. Thorpe" perfectly. "The Sidestep-" ing Governor of Texas was played by John Champion.
The rest of the company is made up of theatre interns and local talents. The ensemble members are required to play Mona's girls and their "guests," as well as the wholesome Melvin P. Thorpe singers; every one of them rose to this challenge and did well with the challenging choreography by MK Lawson.
The local talent was impressive. Dave Caldwell played the "Bandleader/Edsel Mackey." Russ Sawicki played "C.J. Scruggs" and his daughter was a member of the ensemble. "The Mayor" was played by the Superintendent of School in New Hartford Philip O'Reilly and he is really good! Duane Estes, another educator, played "Senator Wingwoah."
The scenery by Erik D. Diaz is functional and attractive without being tacky. The excellent nine-piece orchestra sat onstage outside the parlor so that the audience could see the conductor Robert Rokicki. The petite Executive Director Alice Bemand, who appeared with Mr. Mitchell on Backstage with Johnny O, does the announce and pulls the winning number for the fifty-fifty raffle.