Kentwood Players Offer “Li’l Abner”

Kentwood Players continues its 60th Anniversary Season with the musical “Li’l Abner” from Friday, March 12 through Saturday, April 17 on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Westchester Playhouse located at 8301 Hindry Avenue in Westchester. With book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, the musical is based on characters created by Al Capp, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer and music by Gene de Paul. With this year being the Johnny Mercer Centennial, now is the perfect time to enjoy this great production, directed and choreographed by Victoria Miller, produced by Susan Goldman Weisbarth, with Dave Boyer as the musical director.

Using the fictional backwoods hamlet of “Dogpatch, USA,” Al Capp offered humorous political and social commentary of the day in his comic strip “Li’l Abner” that ran nationwide from 1934 to 1977. The Tony-award winning musical “Li’l Abner” opened on Broadway on November 15, 1956 and ran for 693 performances with original direction and choreography by Michael Kidd. In 1959, Paramount released a film based on the stage musical with some of the original Broadway cast including Stubby Kaye, Julie Newmar and Peter Palmer.

The musical still remains applicable to today’s political and social scenes. The story centers around Dogpatch’s Sadie Hawkins Day Race, the annual opportunity for Daisy Mae to once again attempt to snag Li’l Abner as a husband. But the race gets interrupted by Washington D.C. bureaucrats who announce that Dogpatch has been determined to be the most unnecessary town in the USA, and thus has been selected as the site for testing the atomic bomb. Told they can only avoid evacuation and annihilation by demonstrating that the town has some redeeming value, Mammy Yokum throws her secret Yokumberry tonic into the mix and the madCapp ride takes off!

Featured in the multi-talented cast of “Li’l Abner” are Derek Rubiano and Meredith M. Sweeney as Abner and Daisy Mae, along with Greg Abbott, Marcy Agreen, Nick Alspaugh, Jeff Asch, Dylan Bailey, Lorenzo Bastien, Margie Bates, Jordan Bland, Crystal Boyer, Kaitlin Brasuell, Sheldon Cohen, Diane Dooley, Ron “Adam” Dunberger, Drew Fitzsimmons, Janice Garcia, Marco Antonio Garcia, Slater Ross Garcia, Ira Gewant, Leigh Golden, Greg Hardash, Emma Hatton, Heidi Johnson, Mike La Stelley, Francesca Palermo, Dash Porter, Valerie Ruel, Minerva Schott, Bruce Schroffel and Max Heldring Stormes.

Tickets are $23.00 with a $2.00 discount for seniors, students, and servicemen. To purchase tickets, please call (310) 645-5156 during box office hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 4-7 PM. Visa, MasterCard, and Diner’s Club accepted, with a $1.50 convenience fee added per ticket charged to a credit card. You may also purchase tickets online at www.kentwoodplayers.org. For group ticket sales, please contact Jenny Boone at (310) 204-1838 or Calia Mintzer-Wolf at (310) 837-3609.

Please join us at the Westchester Playhouse, home of the Kentwood Players, for our next meeting to learn more about our upcoming season of shows. You’ll have the opportunity to meet and get involved with our very professional and talented group of producers, directors, actors and designers as we celebrate 60 years of presenting great entertainment. Our meetings are free to the public and are held on the third Wednesday of every month at 8:00 p.m. Westchester Playhouse is located two blocks west of the San Diego Freeway and two blocks north of Manchester at 8301 Hindry Avenue in Westchester, CA 90045.
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