Li'l Abner is a musical with a book by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, music by Gene De Paul, and lyrics by Johnny Mercer. Based on the comic strip Li'l Abner by Al Capp, the show is, on the surface, a broad spoof of hillbillies, but it is also a pointed satire on broader topics, ranging from incompetence in the United States federal government to standards of masculinity.
After several other writers and composers considered musicalizing the comic strip, Al Capp finally made a deal in 1955 with the eventual creators for a musical to be financed by Paramount Pictures, which wanted to follow the stage version with a film musical. The Broadway production opened on November 15, 1956 and ran for a moderately successful 693 performances. The score and Michael Kidd's choreography received critical praise, but some critics felt that the book's adaptation lost the spirit of the comic strip. Kidd and Edie Adams, as Daisy Mae, won Tony Awards, while newcomer Peter Palmer, in the title role, won a Theatre World Award. Paramount released a film version, in 1959, with most of the Broadway cast reprising their roles.