Review of Daddy Long Legs
Music and Lyrics by Paul Gordon & John Caird
Directed by Elly Lichenstein
Musical Direction by Dave MacNab
For tickets / schedule :
Main Stage West, Sebastopol
Tickets: $30, $25 Senior 65+, $15 Students
RUN: November 17 – December 10, 2017
RATING: 5 of 5 stars
(November 30, 2017)
Daddy Long Legs is a delightful and intelligent Edwardian romance set to music, which ebbs and flows in a soft current of sound, rather than creating distinct, disjointed songs. Feather light with an edge of wit, it follows the story of Jerusha Abbott, an orphan who is sponsored to attend college by a mysterious benefactor. His attempt to remain anonymous crumbles as he reads her lively, engaging letters, addressing him playfully as “Daddy Long Legs” from a brief glimpse she had of his height. Curiosity gets the better of studious Jervis Pendleton, and he introduces himself without revealing the nature of their true relationship, swiftly falling in love with the clever orphan. He faces the task of admitting that he is Daddy Long Legs, risking losing her forever.
The orchestra is as much a character in this musical as the actors, led by musical director Dave MacNab in a velvet cascade of sound carrying the audience through Jerusha’s four years of education and discovery. Missy Weaver’s lighting design and Elizabeth Craven’s set transform the miniature stage into multiple rooms, weaving between spoken letters and chance encounters for a cohesive narrative. Costume designs by Adriana Gutierrez are simple and accurate, reflecting the conservative personalities in this two-hander.
Elegant and sincere, Madison Genovese as Jerusha Abbott captures the era’s poise without sacrificing passion and candid outbursts of frustration. Tyler Costin’s Jervis Pendleton journeys from an uptight aristocrat who is sure of himself, to a warm, genuine human being capable of love and sacrifice. Their chemistry onstage is magical, with a mutual respect and admiration.
Daddy Long Legs is not flashy or sensational, it is like wandering through a field of brittle grass and coming across a perfectly formed cluster of wildflowers in gentle colors that is painfully beautiful, set apart from the surrounding desert. There is a refreshing, restorative power to this sort of play that is desperately needed.