Li’l Abner


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 crowd-pleasing 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
  • Credits
  • Orchestration
  • Materials
  • Cast
  • History
  • Musical Numbers
  • Upcoming
  • Act I

    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 II

    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).

    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:

    is presented by arrangement with
    Tams-Witmark, A Concord Theatricals Company

    Additionally, you agree to include the above language hyperlinked to on all websites on which you promote the play.

  • 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
    Wood Block
    Cow Bell
    Bird Whistle
    Slide Whistle
    Bell Plate
    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

    2       Piano/Conductor Scores
    20     Libretto/Vocal Books

    Optional Additional Materials

    1       Stage Manager’s Guide

  • 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
    Father (Rufe)
    Speedy McRabbit
    Colonel (Act I, Scene 6)
    U.S. Radio Commentator
    Russian Radio Commentator
    Japanese Radio Commentator
    Appassionata Von Climax
    Evil Eye Fleagle
    Butler (Creighton)
    Another Colonel (Act II, Scene 5 & 7)

    Wives (6):
    Dee Dee

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

    Husbands (6):

    Stupefyin’ Jones (non-speaking)

  • 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

  • Act I

    1. Overture – Orchestra
    2. “A Typical Day” – Dogpatchers
    3. Incidental – Orchestra
    4. Incidental – Orchestra
    5. “If I Had My Druthers” – Li’l Abner and Cronies
    6. Reprise: “If I Had My Druthers” – Daisy Mae
    6a. Scene Change – Orchestra
    6b. Cornpone Fanfare – Orchestra
    6c. Cornpone Fanfare – Orchestra
    6d. Sting Music – Orchestra
    7. “Jubilation T. Cornpone” – Marryin’ Sam and Dogpatchers
    8. Encore: “Jubilation T. Cornpone” – Marryin’ Sam & Dogpatchers
    9. “Rag Off’n the Bush” – Dogpatchers
    10. Dog Patch Dance: Rag Off’n The Bush – Dogpatchers
    11. Scene Change: There’s Room Enough For Us – Orchestra
    12. “Namely You” – Daisy Mae and Li’l Abner
    13. Incidental – Orchestra
    14. Incidental – Orchestra
    15. “Unnecessary Town” – Li’l Abner, Daisy Mae and Dogpatchers
    16. Playoff: Unnecessary Town – Orchestra
    17. Incidental – Orchestra
    18. Incidental – Orchestra
    19. Incidental – Orchestra
    20. Scene Change: There’s Room Enough For Us – Orchestra
    21. “What’s Good for General Bullmoose” – Secretaries
    21a. “What’s Good for General Bullmoose” – Secretaries
    22. Incidental – Orchestra
    23. “There’s Room Enough For Us” – Dogpatchers
    24. “The Country’s in the Very Best of Hands” – Li’l Abner and Marryin’ Sam
    25. Encore: “The Country’s In The Very Best Of Hands” – Abner, Sam, & Dogpatchers
    26. Scene Change: Incidental – Orchestra
    27. Sadie Hawkins Day (Ballet) – Orchestra

    Act II

    28. Entr’acte – Orchestra
    29. Opening Act Two – Orchestra
    30. Incidental – Orchestra
    31. “Oh Happy Day” – Drs. Finsdale, Smithborn, Krogmeyer and Schleifitz
    32. Incidental – Orchestra
    33. Scene Change: Incidental – Orchestra
    34. “I’m Past My Prime” – Daisy Mae and Marryin’ Sam
    35. Scene Change: Incidental – Orchestra
    36. Heads – Orchestra
    37. “Love in a Home” – Li’l Abner and Daisy Mae
    38. Scene Change: Incidental – Orchestra
    39. “Progress Is the Root of All Evil” – Bullmoose
    40. Dance: In Society – Orchestra
    41. Whammy – Orchestra
    42. Reprise: “Progress Is the Root of All Evil” – Bullmoose
    43. Reprise: Oh Happy Day – Orchestra
    44. “Put ‘Em Back The Way They Wuz” – Wives
    45. Incidental – Orchestra
    46. Reprise: “Namely You” – Daisy Mae
    47. Incidental — Orchestra
    48. “The Matrimonial Stomp” – Marryin’ Sam and Dogpatchers
    49. Reprise: “Put ‘Em Back The Way They Wuz” – Wives
    50. Reprise No. 1: “Stomp” – Sam
    51. National Shrine – Orchestra
    52. Reprise No. 2: “Stomp” — Sam
    53. Finale: Cornpone – Company
    54. Exit Music – Orchestra

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