Who doesn’t love a good romance? An up-by-the-bootstraps tale of success over adversity?
Daddy Long Legs, at the Davenport
through January 10th, extended to an open run. (warning: revealing a plot detail here) is a story in which a poor orphan rises beyond her circumstances and falls in love with her benefactor.
The drawing room– more accurately, library room– musical, based on a novel-in-letters from 1912 by Jean Webster, Daddy Long Legs inspired the 1955 film with Fred Astaire, before providing inspiration in 2009 to Paul Gordon (music and lyrics) and John Caird (book and direction). Gordon and Caird’s two-hander premiered at the Rubicon Theater Company and TheatreWorks.
Jerusha Abbott (Megan McGinnis) is an imaginative young woman who has grown up in the John Grier Home. Jervis Pendleton (Paul Alexander Nolan), a young man born to wealth and status, champions her future. He pays for her college education. Their relationship grows as Jerusha writes him letters detailing her progress in school.
Both McGinnis and Nolan are charming, giving agreeable performances. Daddy Long Legs is a pleasant entertainment for those with a literary bent. It hearkens up the plot of Jane Eyre, and there is a lot of talk of books and ideas.
Daddy Long Legs features a series of monologues, many of them in song, that occassionaly come together in a blend of voices. It’s more narrative than action, more tell than show.
The story of Daddy Long Legs has generated earlier incarnations than the Astaire vehicle, from a play written by Webster in 1914 to a movie starring Mary Pickford in 1919. The director and co-creator of this version, Caird refers to Jerusha in his program notes as “a female Candide….allowing Webster to develop her story into one of personal growth and emotional evolution.”
For more information, and tickets for Daddy Long Legs, please visit http://www.daddylonglegsmusical.com/