BritishTheatre

Published on

January 20, 2016

REVIEW: Daddy Long Legs, Off Broadway Cast Recording ✭✭✭✭

By

douglasmayo

Daddy Long Legs Off Broadway Cast Recording

Daddy Long Legs

Off Broadway Cast Recording

Ghostlight Records

4 Stars

Buy a Copy Of Daddy Long Legs

Daddy Long Legs is a new two-handed musicalisation of the book of the same name by Jean Webster. The show has music and lyrics by Paul Gordon and a book by John Caird.

Many will be familiar with the 1955 film of the same name which starred Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron, if that’s the case erase all pre-conceptions from your mind and approach this cast album with fresh eyes as it’s very much based on the original novel.

Daddy Long Legs is the story of Jerusha Abbott who is “The Oldest Orphan in the John Grier Home”. Jerusha finds herself blessed, when a mysterious benefactor sends her to college to train as a writer. The arrangement requires her to write a letter a month to her benefactor, although it is understood he may never read them. Assuming her benefactor to be an older gentleman, Jerusha gives him an identity – Daddy Long Legs.

Of course, her benefactor (identified to the audience as one Jervis Pendleton) does read the letters and to complicate matters, he anonymously introduces himself to Jerusha and their relationship develops. Completely unaware of his identity, she starts to include information about their relationship in her letters to her benefactor. It’s reminiscent of Bronte and Austen at their best.

Jerusha is played by Megan McGinnis and Paul Alexander Nolan plays Jervis. McGinnis makes for a wonderful Jerusha, a girl who wonders whether she is "Alice In Wonderland stranded in Vanity Fair". There’s a feisty quality to this young lady that comes across on the recording. Alexander Nolan sounds every bit the love interest and the blending of vocals make this score immensely listenable.  I have had four listens to this recording as I write this review and find that I’m discovering more and more from this romantic comedy as I go along. This is surely a sign that the musical should prove fresh to audiences who go back for a second or third viewing and that’s a good thing.

The score of Daddy Long Legs has a very musical theatre feel with orchestrations that at times have the feel of Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, whilst occasionally bursting forth with guitar based numbers that have a pop/folk feel. It’s obvious that Caird and Gordon have worked hard to create an intelligent chamber musical and to my mind they've succeeded.

Each song progresses the narrative and gorgeous melodies abound. As the relationship between these two characters develops via their letters, Gordon’s rich lyrics really jump out at you. In modern times though, the audience must put aside any lurid thoughts as to what drives Jervis and think of simpler times and circumstances. Envelope yourself in a world where social commentary of the likes of Austen or Bronte pervaded and you should be right at home with Daddy Long Legs.

It’s hard to pinpoint stand out moments in a score this rich, but Like Other Girls, Things I Didn’t Know, the lilting I’m a Beast, The Colour Of Your Eyes, The Secret Of Happiness, Charity and All This Time were highlights for me.

I missed Daddy Long Legs during it’s London run at the St James Theatre and the recent live-stream of the show from its current Off-Broadway home at the Davenport Theatre, but I now have it firmly on my list when I visit New York in the near future.

BUY A COPY OF DADDY LONG LEGS FROM AMAZON.CO.UK

 

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The British Theatre website has been established to celebrate the rich and diverse theatrical culture of the United Kingdom.  Our ethos revolves around encouraging and nurturing the performing arts in all its forms. The spirit of theatre is very much alive and the British Theatre website is at the forefront of delivering news and information to audiences and enthusiasts everywhere. Our team of theatre journalists and reviewers are working hard to cover productions and news.


We are constantly developing the site and are always open to receiving feedback from our readers. Join our mailing list to be kept informed of all the latest news that is of interest to you..

ABOUT BRITISHTHEATRE

BritishTheatre.com
Opening Night Media Ltd
3rd Floor, 80 St. Martin’s Lane
Covent Garden
London WC2N 4AA

The British Theatre website has been established to celebrate the rich and diverse theatrical culture of the United Kingdom.  Our ethos revolves around encouraging and nurturing the performing arts in all its forms. The spirit of theatre is very much alive and the British Theatre website is at the forefront of delivering news and information to audiences and enthusiasts everywhere. Our team of theatre journalists and reviewers are working hard to cover productions and news.


We are constantly developing the site and are always open to receiving feedback from our readers. Join our mailing list to be kept informed of all the latest news that is of interest to you..