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by Ronnie Vogel

There is one person who deserves a tremendous amount of credit for putting on a wonderful performance in only one and one-half days. This is Barry Kaplan, and the performance is "Li'l Abner." Within so short a time span, the humor and uniqueness of the fictional town of Dogpatch was placed on stage August 11 to the delight of a large Playhouse audience.

This well-performed musical production opened with a chorus in an exciting number, "A Typical Day" in Dogpatch, in which dynamic contrasts were well provided. Bobby Peck, playing the tall, muscular if dull-headed hero of the comic strip, stepped in with a song, "If Ah Had My Druthers." Marryin' Sam (Dave Lapidus) took his place on stage and began talking to the townspeople of Dogpatch. He feels as strongly about politics as he does about the town's hero, Jubilation T. Cornpone, and sings of him in ending the first scene.

The second scene opened with Mammy Yokum (Ellen Schnitt) conferring with Li'l Abner about settling down with Daisy Mae (Nancy Grossman). But the young man's stubbornness forces Mammy to leave the room, and the two lovers do a duet, "Namely You," in beautiful harmony.

But now atomic scientists, warns General Bullmoose (played by Ira Liebowitz), are coming from Washington to break the bad news to the humble town: they are going to drop an atomic bomb on them! But surprisingly enough, the town thought it an honor to have a bomb dropped on them. When the scientists arrived (Jerry Olinick, Fred Fox and Jeff Rosen), Bullmoose went into action; the group tasted Dogpatch's specialty--Kickapoo Joy Juice--and decided to drink would be a great solution for the world by having it make one person look like another. Joyously, they sing the very humorous "Happy Days."

But Bullmoose's scheme to make millions from the drank fails; the scientists decide not to blow up Dogpatch after all; and, as is only proper, Li'l Abner and Daisy Mae wed.

CAST

Mammy Yokum ....... Ellen Schnitt
Daisy Mae ......... Nancy Grossman
Marryin' Sam ...... David Lapidus
Moonbeam McSwine .. Natalie Grossman
Wolf Girl ......... Tina Zitman
Alphea Scragg ..... Merle Braunstein
Dr. Schultz ....... Jeff Rosen
Gen. Bullmoose .... Ira Liebowitz
Stupefyin' Jones .. Jacki Drimer
Available Jones ... Sue Marek
Li'l Abner ....... Bob Peck
Romeo Scragg ..... Andy Simmons
Earthquake ....... Randy Robins
Clem Scragg ...... Tom Hess
Eagle-Eye ........ Steve Lipsky
Dr. Krogmeyer .... Jerry Olinick
Dr. Smithoorn .... Fred Fox
Appasionate Von Climax ... Ronni Braunstein
CHORUS: Barry Goldstein, Lois Chizner, Andy Horowitz, Normie Fishelman, Harlan Ellis, Pat Satz, Barry Weiner, Tama Topf, Nina Cohen, Barbara Flamm, Dick Putterman, Billy Savitt, Nancy Krugler, Roberta Bergofin, Mitch Fromm