Tuesday, May 30, 2006
More on "Abner" from Greg
I enjoyed reading the blog review of the Goodspeed Li'l Abner. It was especially fun to link over to the Goodspeed site and see the clips they had up from their current production.
It's worth noting that this year marks the show's 50th anniversary, and also providing a link to the DVD of the movie at Amazon.com.
The film is a rare example of an extremely faithful adaptation of a stage musical, and features many of the original Broadway cast members (including Peter Palmer's Abner, Howard St. John's General Bullmoose, Carmen Alvarez's Moonbeam McSwine, and of course Julie Newmar's Stupefyin' Jones). It's also noteworthy for the appearance in the chorus of 17-year-old Valerie Harper in her first major gig (especially
noticeable in the "Put 'Em Back" number) as well as 18-year-old Beth Howland in a bit part early on (as a 14-year-old who'll be available for the Sadie Hawkins Day race "as soon as her divorce comes through.")
Watching the movie (filmed in splashes of super-bright, cartoon-like colors), it's easy to see why the show was such a "good time" hit back then (certainly it represented a contrast to the other big 1956 hits, "My Fair Lady" and "Bells Are Ringing"), but it's curious that it's fallen out of the regular repertoires at community theatres and civic light opera companies.
I believe my high school did Lil Abner in the mid-70's a year or two before I arrive there, but I don't recall another opportunity to see it around here since then. And I've never seen the movie either. Very curious, personally, to see it.