Honky Tonk Laundry Review - A Country/Western Bonanza

Writer/director Roger Bean has a way with musical favorites, and HONKY TONK LAUNDRY is no exception. Best known for those toe-tapping, hum-along shows featuring the “Wonderettes” and the “Andrews Brothers,” Bean brings back nostalgic tunes that never fail to create warm and fuzzy recollections for audience members. This time Bean is delving into some perennial favorites from the country/western catalog. In its Los Angeles premiere, HONKY TONK LAUNDRY features 24 all-time favorite tunes including “I Fall to Pieces” and “Stand by Your Man.”  

Bets Malone and Misty Cotton - Photo by Michael Lamont

Lana Mae Hopkins (Bets Malone) owns the Wishy-Washy Washateria, an inheritance from her mother. She has given up any hope of becoming a country and western music professional and settled into running the business. It seems that hubby Earl is always too busy or too tired to offer much help, so Lana Mae decides to hire a helper – and in walks Katie Lane Murphy (Misty Cotton). Pretty soon, it’s very obvious that both women are dealing with good ol’ boys with cheatin’ hearts – until the girls finally resolve to do something about it. That’s where soap suds get mixed with frothy forever-great country melodies. Thelma and Louise have nothing on these ladies.

Bets Malone and Misty Cotton - Photo by Michael Lamont

From start to finish, these two talented and enthusiastic singers belt their hearts out – sometimes with kick-‘em-high dancing steps choreographed by James Vasquez.  Tom Buderwitz has done a bang-up job with the scenic design; rows of washers and dryers harbor secret multi-colored spotlights. Renetta Lloyd’s costumes add just the right note as these ladies, probably denizens of the Deep South, entertain royally.

Bets Malone and Misty Cotton - Photo by Michael Lamont

As you might expect, writer and director Roger Bean knows just where he’s going – and he makes the trip lots of fun for all of us. But this piece is really a showcase for the ample talents of these two songbirds, each with a voice to send chills up and down your spine and plant a permanent smile on your face. They know just what country/western music is all about – and, by the final curtain, so do you.

Misty Cotton and Bets Malone - Photo by Michael Lamont

The plot is simple and mainly a way to let Bets Malone and Misty Cotton, both uber-talented vocalists, get the ball rolling. Don’t expect clever plot twists or profound character development from HONKY TONK LAUNDRY. But do expect to be entertained every moment. You’re really going to enjoy this, especially if you’re an inveterate country/western fan. Get ready to tap your toes and clap those hands.

Misty Cotton and Bets Malone - Photo by Michael Lamont

HONKY TONK LAUNDRY runs through September 17, 2017, with performances at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays. The Hudson Mainstage Theatre is located at 6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA. Tickets are $45 (Friday and Sunday evenings) and $55 (Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees). For information and reservations, call 323-960-7773 or go online.

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