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L'il Abner

Detail fro OBC Album sleeve

An original musical comedy in 2 acts, 20 scenes. Book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank

Based on characters created by Al Capp
Lyrics & music by Johnny Mercer & Gene de Paul

St James Theatre, New York - 15 November, 1956 (693 perfs)


The wonderful tunes include Abner and Daisy's gentle duet, "Namely You", a dream ballad, "If I Had by Druthers", the hilarious show-stopper, "Jubilation T. Cornpone", General Bullmoose's "Progress Is the Root Of All Evil" and the political satire, "The Country's In the Very Best of Hands". The Sadie Hawkins Day Ballet and fine choral work contribute L'il Abner one of the classics of American musical theatre.


Daisy Mae is bent on capturing L'il Abner for herself on the next Sadie Hawkins Day when the women make the running. However, things are not quite as simple as that. Daisy Mae has a rival for Abner's affections, Appassionata von Climax. She has engaged a professional aide to help her win the race. It is Evil Eye Fleagle who produces his own distraction for the men, Stupefyin' Jones. But, a cloud hangs over Dogpatch. The US Government want to use the town where they all live as a site for atomic bomb experiments. Dogpatch was chosen as nothing important or historical ever took place there.

The men-folk are taken away from the town for scientific experiments to make them handsome but they become completely uninterested in the opposite sex.

Eventually, the men are restored to their former selves, ugly but potent. Marryin' Sam meanwhile has unearthed some salient facts about the founder of the town, the sensible but cowardly Jubilation T. Cornpone, with a catalogue of his civil war disasters. This historical reference means the town can be saved and even though the Sadie Hawkins Day race doesn't turn out quite as planned (Earthquake McGoon catches Daisy and Appassionata von Climax gets Abner) by the end of the show Abner and Daisy Mae are married to each other, the ceremony being performed, of course, by Marryin Sam.

Al Capp's creation of the community of Dogpatch - one of the most underrated areas in the whole of the USA - learn that their town has been earmarked for a testing site for atom bombs, the residents, Daisy Mae, Abner Yokum, Pappy and Mammy Yokum, Marryin' Sam, Earthquake McGoon, Stupifyin' Jones and the rest, discover that, many years ago, their beloved community of Dogpatch was designated as a national shrine.

The satire that always permeates the Al Capp comic strips here finds occasion to mock big business, nuclear policy and the security programme in America in the mid-50s.

CAST: Male 14 : Female 11 : Plus various minor roles and chorus.

Original Cast

(in order of appearance)

Singers: Margaret Baxter, Joan Cherof, Pat Creighton, Joyce Gladmond, Hope Holiday, Jane House, Louise Pearl, Jeanette Scovotti, Don Braswell, Lanier Davis, James Hurst, Jack Matthew, Robert McClure, Oran Osburn, George Ritner, Anthony Saverino.

Dancers: Carmen Alvarez, Lillian D'Honau, Bonnie Evans, Maureen Hopkins, Barbara Klopfer, Christy Peterson, Sharon Shore, Rebecca Vorno, Deedee Wood, Chad Block, Marc Breaux, Grover Dale, Robert Karl, Ralph Linn, Richard Maitland, Anthony Mordente, Tom Panko, George Reeder. And: Jan Gunnar, Lucky Kargo, Mario Lamm, Reed Morgan, Aldo Ventura, Robert Wiensko.

Scenes and Settings

Act 1

Scene 1: Dogpatch, U.S.A.
Scene 2: The Yokum Cabin.
Scene 3: The Fishing Hole.
Scene 4: Cornpone Square.
Scene 5: Dogpatch Road.
Scene 6: Cornpone Square.
Scene 7: Washington D. C. Sequence:

a. Government Laboratory,
b. The President's Office.

Scene 8: General Bullmoose's Office.
Scene 9: Dogpatch Road.
Scene 10: Dogpatch.
Scene 11: Dogpatch Road.
Scene 12: Dogpatch.

Act 2

Scene 1: Government Testing Laboratory, Washington.
Scene 2: The Yokum Cabin.
Scene 3: General Bullmoose's Cabin.
Scene 4: Corridor in Bullmoose Mansion.
Scene 5: Ballroom in Bullmoose Mansion.
Scene 6: Corridor in Bullmoose Mansion.
Scene 7: The Government Testing Laboratory.
Scene 8: Cornpone Square.


  1. A Typical Day - Dogpatchers
  2. If I Had My Druthers - L'il Abner, Cronies
  3. If I Had My Druthers (reprise) - Daisy Mae
  4. Jubilation T. Cornpone - Marryin' Sam, Dogpatchers
  5. Rag Offen the Bush - Dogpatchers
  6. Namely You - Daisy Mae, L'il Abner
  7. Unnecessary Town - L'il Abner, Daisy Mae, Dogpatchers
  8. What's Good for General Bullmoose - Secretaries
  9. There's Room Enough for Us - Dogpatchers
  10. The Country's in the Very Best of Hands - L'il Abner, Marryin' Sam
  11. Sadie Hawkins Day (Ballet) - Dogpatchers
  12. Oh, Happy Day - Lil Abner's Cronies
  13. I'm Past My Prime - Daisy Mae, Marryin' Sam
  14. Love in a Home - L'il Abner, Daisy Mae
  15. Progress Is the Root of All Evil - General Bullmoose
  16. Society Party - Guests, Dogpatchers
  17. Progress Is the Root of All Evil (reprise) - General Bullmoose
  18. Put 'Em Back - Wives
  19. Namely You (reprise) - Daisy Mae
  20. The Matrimonial Stomp - Marryin' Sam, Dogpatchers
  21. Finale - Entire Company


Violin 1, 2, 3, & 4: Viola: Cello: Bass: Reed 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5: Trumpets 1, 2 & 3: Trombone 1, 2 & 3: Percussion: Guitar-Banjo: Piano