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Daddy Long Legs

September 1, 2015
At The Davenport-Theatre:

Paul Gordon & John Caird’s DADDY LONGLEGS [*****]

Penniless-Orphan-Girl Acquires a Lot-of-Sense at a New-England-College,

But It’s All Funded by an Unknown & Possibly Long-Legged-Patron…

Letter-by-Letter, Untutored Orphan Jerusha chronicles her Educational & Emotional Evolution for "Daddy-Longlegs,” her Unseen & Unknown Benefactor, whom she imagines as Terribly-Tall, as well as Old, possibly Gray-Haired.

Actually, he is really the Aimless-Progeny of an Old-Money, Well-Born, Manhattan-Dynasty.

All this Mysterious-Stranger requires of Jeruha is that she write him Weekly-Letters, describing her Academic-Progress.

Jerusha—charmingly embodied in Megan McGinnis—asks him about himself, but he never answers.

Author Jean Webster—with Family-Connections to Mark Twain—wrote this Best-Selling-Novel way back in 1911, but some of its Social & Economic-Concerns still resonate.

Webster’s Plotting-Gimmick was to write her Story of an Unlikely-Love-Affair entirely in a Series-of-Letters.

When I heard that John Caird—Premiere-Director of Les Mis—had discovered Webster’s Forgotten-Novel & adapted it for the Stage, I knew I had to see this Unusual-Production, also directed by Caird.

The Reason: I discovered Daddy Longlegs way back in 1952, when I included it in my Stanford PhD-Dissertation, Dramatizations of Best-Selling American Novels, 1900-1917.

Before 1900, there were no Best-Seller-Lists compiled annually.

In 1917, America got involved in The Great-War, so that seemed a Logical-Cut-Off-Date.

Just as Daddy Longlegs is told in Letters, so is its Musical-Reincarnation brought to Life through Letters-That-Sing, thanks to Composer/Lyricist Paul Gordon.

The J’s have it, as Daddy-Longlegs is really Jervis Pendleton, a Scion of Manhattan-Privilege.

Jervis is interestingly impersonated by Paul Alexander Nolan, who matches Megan/Jerusha in Vocal-Charm, but also in Emotional-Power.

Handsomely-designed as a Book-Lined All-Purpose Trunk-Filled Room by David Farley, Daddy Longlegs is so engaging a show that it should be in a Much-Larger-Theatre, even though it’s only a "Two-Hander.”

Long May It Run, even though there are No Long-Legged-Insects to be seen onstage!

Copyright 2015 Glenn M. Loney

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