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Li'l Abner

Description

Al Capp's world-famous characters populate this upbeat show in a delightful mixture of hillbilly nonsense and sharp, critical humor. A fun-filled, foot-stompin’ musical taken directly from the comics, LI'L ABNER is laced with gentle satire, rib-tickling gags, and a host of brash, catchy tunes. The score features "If I Had My Druthers," "Jubilation T. Cornpone," "Namely You," "Progress Is the Root of All Evil" and "The Country’s in the Very Best of Hands."

Music samples provided courtesy of Masterworks Broadway and Warner-Chappell Music, Inc.

Synopsis

ACT ONE

It’s “A Typical Day” in Dogpatch, U.S.A., and the citizens go about their daily activities: drinking Kickapoo Joy Juice, fishing, and preparing for the Sadie Hawkins Day dance. As usual, sweet, curvaceous Daisy Mae Scragg is pursuing Li’l Abner Yokum who, despite being a strapping, handsome young man, isn’t interested in girls or employment. At the fishing hole with his friends, Abner lazily reflects that if he could be anyone in the world, he’d rather be himself (“If I Had My Druthers”). Daisy Mae tells the young men that Senator Jack S. Phogbound has called a “Cornpone Meetin’” in the town square, and they all rush into town. Daisy is frustrated by Abner’s lack of romantic interest (“If I Had My Druthers” Reprise).

At the Meetin’, parson Marryin’ Sam leads a tribute to Dogpatch’s founder, “Jubilation T. Cornpone,” a bumbling Confederate general whose leadership was more beneficial to the North than to the South. Senator Fogbound tells the citizens that Congress has declared Dogpatch “the most unnecessary, no-account” town in the country, and they must all evacuate to make room for atomic testing.

Everyone is thrilled that Dogpatch has been picked out of the entire U.S. (“Rag Offen the Bush”). But Earthquake McGoon reminds them that if they leave Dogpatch, the annual Sadie Hawkins Day race won’t take place. [In Dogpatch, the only way anyone can be married is if a young woman catches a boy on Sadie Hawkins Day.] Thanks to a $1 bribe, Daisy Mae’s unscrupulous relatives, the Scraggs, give Earthquake permission to marry her. Daisy Mae tries to persuade Abner that he deserves to marry a girl like her, and Abner agrees that she should marry a boy like him (“Namely You”).

The townspeople lament that Dogpatch has been declared an “Unnecessary Town,” and they decide to save the town by proving it contains something necessary. Mammy Yokum suddenly realizes that her homemade Yokumberry Tonic has made her son Abner so strong and handsome. When a short, pudgy government scientist is given a spoonful, he turns into a tall, muscular man. Abner agrees to go to Washington, accompanied by Marryin’ Sam, to present the government with the tonic for testing on the scrawny men of Dogpatch.

Greedy, tyrannical General Bullmoose wants to buy the formula for Yokumberry Tonic, and he is angry that Li’l Abner intends to turn the formula over to the government for free (“What’s Good for General Bullmoose”). He hatches a dastardly scheme in which his girlfriend, femme fatale Appassionata Von Climax, will catch Abner on Sadie Hawkins Day. Once they’re married, Bullmoose will kill Abner, and the formula will belong to his widow, Appassionata.

Abner and Marryin’ Sam return to Dogpatch with the happy news that “The Country’s In the Very Best of Hands.” On Sadie Hawkins Day, General Bullmoose and Appassionata arrive in Dogpatch. They hire Evil Eye Fleagle to help Appassionata catch Abner. The race begins, and the young women of Dogpatch pursue the young men (“Sadie Hawkins Day Ballet”). Though Daisy Mae, with the help of Stupefyin’ Jones (any man who looks at her freezes), almost succeeds in catching Abner, Evil Eye Fleagle uses his evil eye to freeze everyone in the race, and Appassionata calmly walks up to Abner and claims him as hers.

ACT TWO

In Washington, the scientists testing Yokumberry Tonic dream of a time when life will be totally controlled by science (“Oh Happy Day”). In Dogpatch, Daisy Mae concludes that the reason she couldn’t win Abner is that she, at age seventeen, is too old and no longer beautiful, and Marryin’ Sam joins her lament (“I’m Past My Prime”). Mammy Yokum has a vision in which she sees Bullmoose and Appassionata’s plot to kill Li’l Abner. Daisy Mae asks Earthquake McGoon to go to Washington, D.C. to save Li’l Abner, and she promises to marry Earthquake if he does.

In Washington, an engagement party is being held for Li’l Abner and Apassionata. General Bullmoose has Evil Eye Fleagle on hand; since Fleagle’s evil eye can require him to do anything requested, Appassionata won’t even have to marry Abner to get the formula. The General is planning to simply have Fleagle use his eye on Abner, get the formula for Yokumberry Tonic, and then order Abner to commit suicide. Mammy and Pappy Yokum, Earthquake, Daisy Mae, and the ladies of Dogpatch all show up to sabotage the party. Daisy May urges Abner to abandon his commitment to Appassionata (“Love In A Home”) but he won’t break his word.

Bullmoose is appalled to have all these hillbillies at his party, but he’ll do anything for the precious Yokumberry recipe (“Progress Is The Root of All Evil”). Fleagle tries to use his evil eye on Abner, but Earthquake holds up a mirror to protect himself and the beam from Fleagle’s eye rebounds onto General Bullmoose. Mammy Yokum questions the General, and he reveals the entire plot. The police arrest him and Appassionata.

The women of Dogpatch go to the laboratory to see the results of Yokumberry Tonic. Their scrawny husbands have been transformed into handsome men with no interest in their wives. The scientists explain that this is an unfortunate side effect of the tonic; since it kills a man’s romantic interests, it is of no use to the government. The women beg for the scientists to “Put ‘Em Back” the way they were. Daisy tells Abner that she’s promised to marry Earthquake, but she’d rather marry Abner (“Namely You” Reprise). Softspoken Pappy Yokum tells Abner that he has a secret potion that’ll make Abner want to marry Daisy Mae. Abner agrees to take it once they get back to Dogpatch.

Back in Dogpatch, Marryin’ Sam prepares to officiate at Daisy Mae and Earthquake’s wedding. Before the wedding, Daisy introduces her filthy relatives to Earthquake, saying that they’ll be coming to live with them once they are married. Marryin’ Sam begins the ceremony by warning Earthquake of the potential consequences of marriage (“The Matrimonial Stomp”). Abner and Pappy interrupt the ceremony, and Abner takes the potion (Pappy whispers to Mammy that it’s really just water) declaring that he wants to marry Daisy Mae. Earthquake now happily relinquishes Daisy Mae to Abner. Men from the government arrive, warning that the atomic bombs are coming soon. As the townspeople try to move the town’s statue of Jubilation T. Cornpone, a plaque bearing a declaration by Abraham Lincoln is revealed: because Cornpone’s military blunders almost single-handedly allowed the North to win the Civil War, Dogpatch is designated a national shrine. The atomic bombs are cancelled, the scrawny men of Dogpatch return home to their happy wives, the citizens of Dogpatch honor Jubilation T. Cornpone, and Abner kisses Daisy Mae (Finale).

Credits

LI’L ABNER
Book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank
Based on Characters Created by Al Capp
Original Direction and Choreography by Michael Kidd
Lyrics by Johnny Mercer
Music by Gene de Paul

Such credits to the authors for all purposes shall be in type size equal to or greater than that of any other credits except for that of the star(s) above the title. In the programs, the credits shall appear on the title page thereof.

The title page of the program shall contain the following announcement in type size at least one-half the size of the authors’ credits:

LI’L ABNER
is presented by arrangement with
TAMS-WITMARK MUSIC LIBRARY, INC.
560 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022

Orchestration

Full Orchestration

2 Violin AC
1 Violin BD
1 Viola
1 Cello
1 Bass

1 Reed I: Clarinet, Alto Sax, Flute & Piccolo or: Clarinet & Alto Sax
1 Reed II: Clarinet, Alto Sax & Bass Clarinet or: Clarinet, Alto Sax & Baritone Sax
1 Reed III: Clarinet, Tenor Sax & Flute or: Clarinet & Tenor Sax
1 Reed IV: Clarinet, Tenor Sax, Oboe & English Horn or: Clarinet & Tenor Sax
1 Reed V: Clarinet, Baritone Sax & Bassoon or: Clarinet & Baritone Sax

2 Trumpets I & II
1 Trumpet III
1 Trombone I
1 Trombone II
1 Trombone III

1 Percussion:

Timpani (2 Drums)
Snare Drum (Brushes & Sticks)
Bass Drum
Tom Toms
Cymbals
Bells
Chimes
Wood Block
Cow Bell
Bird Whistle
Slide Whistle
Bell Plate
Vibraphone
Xylophone
Flexatone (For “Whammy” Cue)

1 Guitar-Banjo

  Piano-Conductor’s Score sent with rehearsal material

A special String Substitute Keyboard Synthesizer part covering the music for Violins, Viola and Cello is available, at an additional charge, with the rental of the full orchestration.

Rehearsal Materials

1       Piano Conductor’s Score
1       Prompt Book for Director
30     Prompt Books for Cast
30     Chorus-Vocal Books

Optional Additional Materials

1       Stage Manager’s Guide

Cast List

Li’l Abner
Daisy Mae
Mammy Yokum
Romeo Scragg
Clem Scragg
Alf Scragg
Earthquake McGoon
Pappy Yokum
Lonesome Polecat
Hairless Joe
Moonbeam McSwine
Marryin’ Sam
Mayor Dan’l Dawgmeat
Senator Jack S. Phogbound
Dr. Rasmussen T. Finsdale
Dr. Smithborn
Dr. Krogmeyer
Dr. Schleifitz
First Crony
Second Crony
Third Crony
Fourth Crony
Fifth Crony
State Department Man (Cedric Softwicke)
General Bullmoose
Government Man
Available Jones
Scarlett
Father (Rufe)
Speedy McRabbit
Colonel (Act I, Scene 6)
U.S. Radio Commentator
Russian Radio Commentator
Japanese Radio Commentator
President
Appassionata Von Climax
Evil Eye Fleagle
Butler (Creighton)
Another Colonel (Act II, Scene 5 & 7)

Wives (6):
Carmen
Pat
Lillian
Bonnie
Hope
Dee Dee

First Boy
Announcer’s Voice (Act II, Scene 1)
Secretaries (4)
Policeman
Chad (actor playing Hairless Joe)

Husbands (6):
Hank
Zeke
Cy
Clem
Luke
Rufe

Stupefyin’ Jones (non-speaking)

Brief History

LI’L ABNER played for 693 performances on Broadway at the St. James Theatre. The original cast included Edith Adams, Peter Palmer, Howard St. John and Stubby Kaye.

Awards (1957-58)

2 Tony Awards for Choreography and Supporting or Featured Actress
2 Theatre World Awards (Wynne Miller and Peter Palmer)
The Outer Critics Circle Award for Performance