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Character Profile: Melvin P Thorpe, Bandleader

Marcus Littlejohn and Andi Denny first appeared as two of GMT’s own Jet Boys in 2011’s West Side Story. Four years later, and they’re playing two semi-celebrities obsessed with the Chicken Ranch (aka The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas), and while the two never meet, they’re clearly on very different teams...

Melvin P. Thorpe

Aliases: That Watchdog Man, Phineas

Age: 41


Television Crusader/Evangelist

Songs: Texas has a Whorehouse in it

Played by: Marcus Littlejohn


Melvin's backstory:

“Melvin found a cockroach floating in a bottle of soda pop at his local diner back in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, 1955. He decided to sue for third party liability, as per a small Scottish case from 1932: Donoghue v Stevenson. The local courthouse wouldn’t take him seriously, so he booked some time on the local PBS station, fought to have his case heard and eventually won. The diner settled out of court, but it was enough to send it to the wall and Melvin’s consumer crusade was born!”

Favourite Melvin line:

“Governor, Governor, Melvin P. Thorpe, Watchdog News!”

Favourite costume idea:

“I wanted to get Melvin some snazzy cowboy boots, but then he found himself his own boots. He is NO cowboy!”

Melvin's perfect date:

“An afternoon with Mary Whitehouse. She knew how to work a crowd.”

Melvin’s biggest problem with the Chicken Ranch:

“It’s so damned affordable! How can they possibly turn a profit on those low margins? The goods must be faulty! Shut it down!”

If Melvin could pick any profession, what would it be?:

“He’s going to be a Network Anchorman one day, like Walter Cronkite or Robert Goulet.”

The Whorehouse song Bandleader can't get out of his head is:

“Twenty-Four Hours of Lovin’. That bad boy’s got some soul about it!”


Real name: Hoss Whitlock

Aliases: Ennis, Pitt, Jeremiah, Gabe, Jesse, Brady, Chuck, Randy, Jacob and Bucky

Age: 29

Profession: Country music star

Songs: 20 Fans, Texas has a Whorehouse in it, The Raid, The Aggie Song, The Sidestep, Good Old Girl

Played by: Andi Denny


Bandleader's backstory:

“Hoss was the oldest of eight children in a big, happy Southern family in modern-day Gilbert, Lanville County. On his 10th birthday, his father got him a guitar and a history book and told him to pick one or the other to study. Since his parents were already spending all their time on the young’uns, Hoss picked both to occupy his time, and eventually he was using history to inspire his music. He grew up and left home, living in nearby Galveston before moving to Houston. He knew his name wasn’t ‘fame-ready’, so he tried to come up with more attractive stage names. In the end, though, each one brought worse luck, so he stuck with plain ol’ Hoss -- or, preferably, ‘Bandleader’. Now, after a semi-successful music career leading the Rio Grande Band, they’ve returned to the abandoned Chicken Ranch whorehouse in Hoss’ hometown to launch their new Country album, inspired by the building’s history.”

Favourite Bandleader line:

“She insisted that each girl check her customer real good for the clap and wash him off with soap and warm water. Some of the fellas claimed that was the best part.”

Favourite costume idea:

“Keeping all my clothes on, but that’s looking less and less likely. Also, I’m seeing a lot of backwards baseball caps on country music stars now, so I got one, and right now I’m trying to get through to show week without someone telling me to ditch it. If they do, I’m going full-scale Doctor Teeth.”

Bandleader's perfect date:

“He’d like anything on an historical site, maybe a museum or an old blues club. Picnic blanket, sandwiches, his guitar and an old battle site – BAM! He’s yours. Unless you’re from Galveston. He had a bad experience once with a girl in Galveston. She was too ‘free-wheeling’ for him.”

Bandleader’s favourite Chicken Ranch fact:

“He likes the story of the depression-time… uh… ‘proprietress’, Miss Wulla Jean. It’s pretty fascinating that she was a whorehouse madam, but she was also a total prude. To be fair, she put a jukebox in the whorehouse, but I bet all it ever played was Dominique by the Singing Nun.”

If Bandleader could pick any profession, what would it be?:

“First Guitarist, but then he’d have to change his name. Can’t have a First Guitarist called ‘Bandleader’, that’s just crazy confusing.”

The Whorehouse song Bandleader can't get out of his head is:

“Twenty-Four Hours of Lovin’, even though it’s one of the ones he didn’t write.”

The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas runs from 5th-9th May 2015 at Websters Theatre, Glasgow. Show information can be found here, or buy your tickets now here.

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