Students prepared to garner laughs in ‘Lil Abner’

Apr. 17, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

A variety of elements, including a live pig, music, dancing, and social and political commentary, are combined to create widespread appeal in “Li’l Abner” — a musical that Lee County High School students will perform tonight through Saturday.

Ron Coley, the school’s drama teacher, said that about 70 students comprise the cast, but that’s not where student involvement in the show ends. Carpentry students helped build scenery, art students created a backdrop, and musically inclined students will work with a handful of adults to back the singers.

The show — based on the Al Capp comic strip of the same name that ran from 1934-77 — is a comedic musical spoofing hillbillies, the federal government and more while also managing to tell a love story. It originally opened on Broadway in 1956, and a movie version was released in 1959. It centers on Daisy, who wants to marry Abner, who would rather just be fishing and left up to his own devices.

Taisia Johnson, a senior and the president of the school’s International Thespian Society, plays the role of Daisy.

“It’s fun getting into character and trying different voices,” Johnson said. “... This is a very good show. The singing’s good, it’s funny, I think people will really enjoy it.”

Other cast members shared that feeling, including Imrich Kuric, the sophomore who plays Abner.

“Usually, scripts are boring to memorize,” he said. “But this one has been a ton of fun.”

Braxton Hardison said he has also enjoyed memorizing his lines for Marryin’ Sam, a character who specializes in providing copious and cheap wedding ceremonies. However, he couldn’t say how the script compares to other shows, as this is the freshman’s first experience in drama.

He said he’s still a little nervous, but confident that he and his fellow cast members will put on a good performance for the next few nights, and Kuric agreed.

“We ran through it yesterday, and it went really well,” he said Tuesday, minutes before the final dress rehearsal. “But I’m still nervous.”

Coley said he’s been pleased with how practices have gone, and he thinks people who come to a show will be in for a good time.

“We had a lot of great seniors last year that have left us, but we’ve had a lot of kids step up, and they’re great,” Coley said.

Admission to the show, which starts at 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday in the school’s auditorium, is $5 per person.