Act 1 A small country combo of musicians opens the show, with the band leader telling a bit of the history of the beloved “Chicken Ranch” brothel and how it gots its name during the Depression, when local men were a bit short on the $3.00 fee and ultimately were allowed by the madam, Miss Wulla Jean, to barter for services with poultry (“Twenty Fans”). The scene evolves from the 1930s to the present day of the show--1973--where Miss Mona has since inherited the business. Two newcomers arrive at the Ranch looking for work, one is a city streetwalker and the other a naive farm girl. Mona and her working girls acquaint the new arrivals to the rules of the house (“A Lil’ Ole Bitty Pissant Country Place”), and once the newly named Angel and Shy agree to the rules, they are hired on a trial basis. While Angel is prepared to get started right away, Shy needs a bit of a makeover so Mona and the others encourage her to embrace that she has taken charge of her own life and help uncover her natural, quiet beauty and give her the confidence she needs to meet her first customer (”Girl, You’re a Woman”).
The next scene opens on the television studio of Melvin P. Thorpe, a self-proclaimed “Watchdog” for morality, where the Dogettes--his backup singers--open the show (“Watchdog Theme”) and Thorpe proceeds to promise to shut down the immoral goings on at the Chicken Ranch (“Texas Has a Whorehouse in It”). Meanwhile, Mona almost catches Angel breaking the rules about telephone use in the house, but softens when she realizes that Angel is talking to her young son. Mona hints that there may be a way to arrange for Angel to take time off at Christmas. And Jewel, Mona’s confidante and the one-woman household staff, is on her way out for her day off with her boyfriend, and she intends to make it count (“Twenty-Four Hours of Lovin’”). As Jewel departs, Mona’s longtime lover, Ed Earl Dodd--who also happens to be the town sheriff--arrives to tell Mona that Melvin P. Thorpe plans to shut