Video: “Cornpone and the Cold War: Reassessing the Musical Li’l Abner”

Watch a talk by Jim Lovensheimer, Assistant Professor of Music History and Literature, Blair School of Music.

With its bright score, exuberant energy, and over-the-top stereotypes of Southern dimwits, the 1956 musical version of Al Capp’s comic strip Li’l Abner still receives occasional productions. However, its absence from the growing literature on the American musical suggests Ethan Mordden’s assessment of it as the 1950’s “biggest forgotten hit,” at least in terms of works receiving serious critical scrutiny. Yet even a cursory examination of the show and its Cold War and McCarthy Era context reveals some of the midcentury’s most pointed social and political satire.

This talk was part of Commencement Study Breaks – Senior Day learning sessions for our guests, conducted by Vanderbilt faculty members.

Contact: Princine Lewis (615) 322-NEWS